(Compiled by Dato’ G. Vijayananthan DPMP, JSM, KMN, AMN, PJK — Chairman, 48th Anniversary & Tamil New Year Dinner & Dance Organising Committee — from the records available through the kind courtesy of Members, past Annual Reports, Bulletins of MCC, Minutes of CWC and CEC meetings etc).
The formation of the Malayan Ceylonese Congress in 1958 is the climax to the public life of Ceylonese in Malaya.
As a prelude to the history of the M. C. C., it is important to take notice of the growth of Jaffnese Associations in the early twentieth century. The impetus for the growth of such associations was to provide for the social, cultural, religious needs and sporting activities for the Ceylonese. In the major towns where the Ceylon Tamils settled, associations were formed, motivated essentially by the desire to preserve the cultural distinctiveness of their group.
The first organised Society which looked after the interests of the Ceylonese as a whole was the Selangor Ceylon Tamils Association founded in 1900. The records of which meeting was then kindly supplied by the veteran school master, Mr. R. Thampipillay, J.P. who was then a sturdy young man of twenty-one, read as follows: “At 7.00 p.m. on the 24th day of December, 1900 about 53 Ceylon Tamils of Selangor assembled at the residence of Mr. V. Sinnappah, well-known and influential Station-Master, Kuala Lumpur and unanimously resolved to form the Selangor Ceylon Tamil’s Association with the following objects;
(1) To build and maintain a Kandasamy Temple and the Cremation Ground (off Circular Road) which had been granted to the Ceylon Tamils by the Selangor Government and
(2) To safeguard the general interests of the Ceylonese residing in Malaya.”
The Office-bearers and Committee members for 1900 — 1902 were:
President Mr. Visuvanathan (Vaddukuoddai) - Head Overseer, P. W. D. Kuala Lumpur
Vice-President Mr. S. Saravanamuthu (Udupiddy)-Head-overseer, Sanitary Board, Kuala Lumpur.
Hon. Secretary Mr. Kanagasabapathy (Mallagam) Clerk, Secretariat, K. L.
Hon. Treasurer Mr. V. Sinnappah (Veeman Kaman, Tellipalai) Station Master, Kuala Lumpur.
Committee Members Mr. C. Thambapillai (Tinnevelly North)
Mr. S. T. Pillay (Urumparay)
Mr. Seenivasagam (Adchu Veli)
Mr. V. Sanmugam (Mulai)
Mr. Sittampalam (Araly)
Mr. S. Chellathamby (Trincomalee)
Mr. S. Thambyrajah (Kanderodai)
Mr. W. Wijaiaratnam (Araly)
Mr. V. Eliathamby (Urumparay)
Mr. R. Arumugam (Colombogam)
Rev. S. Abraham (Urumparay)
As years went by and Ceylonese population increased, the need for an organisation to represent all Ceylonese interests was keenly felt. Several discussions were conducted to form an Association to include all Ceylonese i.e. Tamils,Singhalese, Burghers, Moors and Ceylon Malays. Two definite attempts were made, the first in Kuala Lumpur at a meeting convened at the Town Hall and the second in Singapore at a meeting held in the Victoria Memorial HalL
Unfortunately both these meetings were unsuccessful.
In 1912 Mr. M. W. Navaratnam, who was the Secretary of the Selangor Ceylon Tamils Association, acquired a knowledge of our people in public life and made a bold attempt to form an Association. The following press report speaks for itself and gives a picture of the origin of the Association:
A NEW BODY WITH JUSTIFIABLE AMBITION
“The Ceylon Association of Selangor, the youngest of the Ceylonese organisations in Malaya shows every sign of it becoming a very active and useful institution. We have seen its Constitution and we believe that there is ample scope for its aims and objects not only in Selangor but outside its limits.”
The following gentlemen comprised the Committee of Management for first years:
President Mr. M. W. Navaratnam
Vice-President Mr. B. T. S. Naysadurai
Hon. Secretaries Mr. M. A. Akbar Mr. P. Ratnadurai
Hon. Treasurer Mr. C. 0. La Brooy
Members of Committee
Mr. V. Chelliah
Mr. W. W. Fernando.
Mr. J. C. Jayatilaka
Mr. H. J. C. Kulasinghe
Mr. P. Mailvaganam
Mr. J. D. A. Puvirajasinghe
Mr. G. W. de Silva
Mr. F. A. Samaranayaka
Mr. J. S. Wijasuriya
At the inaugural meeting, the President, Mr. M. W. Navaratnam briefly explaining the purpose of the Association said, “The Ceylon Association of Selangor is formed with the intention of bringing together the various communities of Ceylonese residents in Malaya and this has been a long-felt want,” and he then quoted what Sir Andrew Caldecott said while performing the opening ceremony of the Tamil Union Grounds in Colombo, “If you are going to be good Ceylonese, you must have Tamils, Singhalese, Burghers, Moors and Malay Clubs all of them.”
Mr. Navaratnam further added, “Several unsuccessful attempts were made in the past, still undaunted by these failures, a few representatives of the various communities which make up the Ceylonese have gathered here today to inaugurate the Ceylon Association of Selangor.”
Closely following the inaugural meeting of the Association, the Management Committee made an appeal to all Ceylonese of goodwill to join the Ceylon Association of Selangor and assist in the establishment of a Club House where all Ceylonese could assemble to discuss the common problems, get to know one another better and also strengthen the bonds of fellowship which existed between the Malayan Ceylonese and other communities in Malaya.
The material well being of the community was not neglected either. In order to prevent indebtedness and to encourage thrift among the Jaffna Tarnils, the Jaffnese Co-operative Society (JCS) was established in 1924. It encouraged members to invest in the J.C.S. and loans at reasonable rates were granted for educational expense, medical treatment, funeral expenses and purchase of household necessities etc.
The Association did many things to prove its usefulness among which may be mentioned its sponsoring the performance of a play entitled “Princess of Malacca” in aid of the Malaya Patriotic Fund in November, 1940.
The Malayan Ceylonese Provident Fund was also planned and subsequently organised by the Association, and its Management Committee did a great deal to nurse it carefully during the period of its infancy. Within the next few years, this Provident Fund became very popular among the Ceylonese and its phenomenal growth necessitated the Fund being conducted as a separate organisation and the president of the Ceylon Association of Selangor, Mr. M. W. Navaratnam was also the president of the Malayan Ceylonese Provident Fund for well over 18 years.
In 1955 when the Malaysian deputation, under the leadership of Y.T.M. Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj left for Britain to seek Independence, the Ceylon Association of Selangor was the first Ceylonese organisation to entertain the deputation to tea and pledged their loyalty while wishing God-speed and success.
FLASH BACK TO DECEMBER 1955
A MEMORABLE FUNCTION
The Chief Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman (left) wearing a garland, shares
a joke with Mr. M. W. Navaratnam, president of the Ceylon Association of
Se/an gor and Mr. S. C. Macintyre, the only elected Ceylonese representative in
the Federal Legislative Council, at a tea party in Kuala Lumpur. The party which
was given by the Association was in honour of the Chief Minister and
Mr. Maclntyre — Malay Mail picture by Ng Beh Leow
The Hon’ble the Chief Minister, Federation of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hon’ble Mr. S. Chelvasingham Macintyre, the newly—elected Ceylonese in the Federal Legislative Council were entertained at a tea party on Friday December 9th 1955 by the Ceylon Association of Selangor.
Mr. M. W. Navaratnam, President of the Association in welcoming the guests of the evening said that the large gathering present was a testimony to the importance of the occasion and the popularity of our guests. Our Chief Minister, he said has already endeared by his bold political initiative since he took office and by the absolute fairness and broad minded patriotism. There is no doubt his mission to Britain to obtain Merdeka will be a complete success.
Twelve-year-old Evelyn Samuel presents a bouquet to Federation Chief Minister Tunku Abdul Rabman at a tea party in his honour given by the Se/an gor Ceylonese Association at the Eastern Hotel in Kuala
Lumpur last weekend.
Mr. K. Tililampalam garlanding Justice Tan Sri Chelvasingam Macintyre. In the back-ground, Mr. R.Thampipillay J P blessing the Tunku
The Chairman next referred to Mr. Chelvasingham Macintyre as the worthy son of an illustrious father who shed glory in the public life of Malaya during his time. There is no doubt that his son will follow in the footsteps of his father and bring credit as the only elected Ceylonese member in the Federal Legislative Council.
Mr. L. C. Jayatilaka Vice-President in a humorous speech wished the mission to Britain all success and hoped that as the centre forward of the team Tengku will shoot straight and hard and secure resounding victory.
Mr. A. B. Samuels Hon. Secretary wished the Chief Minister all success in his talks about the future in Malaya in Britain. May God grant the members of the mission health, wisdom and understanding so that they could conclude the great work with perfect success concluded Mr. Samuels who pledged the loyalty of true Malaysians of Ceylonese origin.
In replying the Chief Minister thanked the President and the Association for the entertainment and hoped that Ceylonese will play their part nobly when Malaya achieves Independence. He pledged that there would be a part for every one in Malaya after Independence.
“At the moment the country had very little to offer to the people because it was a protected state. After Independence the status of the country would be different and all those who were loyal to the country would have a part in it,” he said.
He said the British would not hesitate to give self government to Malaya because the people were now learning to unite into a single nation.
The country which was divided among itself was a thing of the past, he added.
Now the people have been taught to look upon themselves as the citizens of the country, he concluded amidst applause.
After Malaya attained independence, the Ceylon Association of Selangor followed suit in common with other organizations as U.M.N.O., M.C.A., and M.I.C. to establish the Malayan Ceylonese Congress
The following is a press report of the inaugural meeting:-
Extracts from “Malay Mail.”
“There is a great lack of unity among the Ceylonese population in Malaya,” said Mr. Navaratnam, the president of the newly-formed Malayan Ceylonese Congress
“There are a number of Ceylon organisations in this country today with the object of safeguarding Political, Social and Cultural interests connected with the Ceylonese population but none of these organisations co operate with others. The disunity amongst the Ceylonese is due to the few who put their own interests first and even show jealousy and mutual dislike instead of general good will. If we continue in this way we are bound to suffer at the hands of the Government in the matter of legislation. The non-inclusion in the Federal Constitution of a member to represent the Ceylonese in the Parliament was a typical case in point.”
“If Government is aware that the Ceylonese are active and prepared to safeguard not only their own rights but the rights of all good citizens we would never have been passed over. If we are disunited we will be regarded as worse than a minority community and we will be a miserable community which can be left to Stew in the bitter juice of our own dissension We are now going through a period of transition in the history of this country Great changes are about to take place and with such changes occurring we should unite and act with singleness to safeguard our rights and claims We would like to be in the vanguard of progress and should look upon the people of this country as a united people whatever their race religion or language”
Mr Navaratnam then concluded his presidential address by announcing the winding up of the Ceylon Association of Selangor and the BIRTH OF THE MALAYAN CEYLONESE CONGRESS.
SINCE THE BIRTH OF THE MALAYSIAN CEYLONESE CONGRESS
THE YEAR 1958
The “Malaysian Ceylonese Congress Party” as it was then known was the brainchild of the late Mr. M. W. Navaratnam (Auditor. Federal Audit, Kuala Lumpur.)
It is understood that the party was formed as an opposition party to the
Ceylon Federation under the leadership of the late Sir Clough Thuraisingam. The Ceylon Federation of Malaya was the only party which was recognized by the government at that time and enjoyed the privilege of a seat in the Senate. It was also represented in all representative bodies and was invited to attend all social functions.
The President of the Ceylon Federation of Malaya (CFM) was the sole representative of the community in all these functions. This party was held as “secular” by all other members of the Ceylonese Community.
Mr. M. W. Navaratnam, the President of the Selangor Ceylon Tamil Association (founded in 1900) announced the birth of the Malayan Ceylonese Congress (M.C.C.) on the 24th day of February 1958 with address of No: 54, Pudu Road, 5th Floor, Ng Keat Thong Building, Kuala Lumpur and registration number PPM/WP/66158.
The purpose for which M.C.C. was created is to promote and safeguard the Political, Educational, Social and Cultural interests of the Malaysian Ceylonese Community.
A reconciliation attempt was made to resolve the matter. It was unfortunate that at a second meeting both the leaders became uncompromising. The reconciliation meeting ended in a failure.
THE YEAR 1966
In 1966, when the new Societies Act was brought into effect, the constitution of the Congress was revised and registration was obtained on the 6th of June 1966
Ref RSM66/58/(24) ARS/ registration No 1238 (Sel))
THE SOCIETIES ACT 1966
Name of Society:Malayan Ceylonese Congress
Address:No 48 Thamby Abdullah Road. Kuala Lumpur
Registration No:135 (Selangor)
It is hereby certified that the set of rules, copy whereof is appended hereto, has been approved under the above-mentioned Society, this 6th day of June, 1966.
Dated this 1st day of July, 1966.
(Kassim b. Haji Mohd Amin)
b.p. Registrar of Societies Malaysia
(Seal affixed here)
Mr. M. W. Navaratnam continued as President of M. C. C. with a few changes in the committee till 1967, when a new Executive Committee was elected.
Seated (Left to Right) Mr. A. Arunasalam,Hon. Treasurer; Mr. L.C. Jayatilaka, Vice-President; Mr. M. W.Navaratnam, AMN,JP, President; Mr. V. Kanapathy Pilla’, Chairman, Committee for Literary & Culture;Mr. A.B. Samuels, Secretary General
Standing (Left to Right) Mr. S. Velautham, Chairman, Membership Committee; Mr. N. M. Vase gam, PJK, MBE, Chairman, Sports Committee; Mr. P. S. Thilliampalam, Chairman, Committee for Variety Entertainment; Mr. P. Mailvaganam, Chairman, Committee on Finance & Business-Manager; Mr. V. G.Thalayasingam, Chairman, Publicity Committee
(Not in the picture, Mr. S. Durai Raja Sin gam, Chairman Committee on Records.)
At the Eighth Annual Session of the Congress held in October, 1966 a resolution was unanimously passed to seek affiliation with the UMNO-MCA-MIC Alliance and the matter was actively pursued by the Executive Committee of the Congress as the Malayan Ceylonese Congress was the only political body representing the Malaysian citizens of Ceylonese origin, which was then over a thousand strong.
The flow of membership continued with the whole hearted support of the Ceylon Association in Seremban, Taiping and Johore Bharu and Ceylonese from other states where such Associations did not exist.
Their thoughts naturally turned to the spirit which moved the founders of these organisations and which had sustained and developed the service to the community from small beginnings.
THE YEAR 1969
By early 1969 a few of the Committee Members passed away including Mr. M. W. Navaratnam and the M. C. C. became inactive. Subsequently due to lack of interest and internal problems, the M. C. C. was not functioning.
In the meantime the Registrar of Societies (ROS) had written a letter to the M.C.C. to show cause why M.C.C. should not be deregistered.
Members at a subsequent meeting then decided to support M.C.C. as a political body. Action was taken immediately by the Secretary with the R.O.S. upon Dato Dr. C. Sinnadurai accepting the position of President. With the explanation given, the show cause letter was withdrawn.
THE YEAR 1970
Then in 1970 there was an attempt to revive the M. C. C. After a few informal meetings held by interested parties, an AGM was held at the Girls Guide’s Organisation in Pantai, Kuala Lumpur.
Tan Sri Dato’ C. Sinnadural, a prominent Physician (a retired Government pensioner) took over the leadership.
Under the leadership of Dato’ Dr. C. Sinnadurai, the organization grew to seventeen Branches. The President was appointed to the Senate and represented the M.C.C. and its situation in the Senate. He made great strides to unite with the Tamils in Malaysia.
Dato Dr. C. Sinnadurai held a series of meetings and decided on the following programmes:-
a) Registration of Branches:
First Branch was formed in Petaling Jaya followed by other branches stretching from Penang to Johore Bharu. We had almost twenty registered branches.
b) Census of the Community:
Census forms were prepared and distributed to all members of the community irrespective of whatever party they belonged to for completion and return.
c) Education Foundation
Mr. C. Selvarajah lawyer from Ng Ek Teong and Partners was appointed to draft the
Education Foundation which was later prepared and studied.
The Committee decided to make a final attempt to merge the Singhalese Association and Ceylon Federation with M. C. C. The former (SinghaleseAssociation) flatly rejected our approach. Two meetings were held with the Ceylon Federation, the last being held at the Victoria Institution Old Boys’ Association (VIOBA). M.C.C. was represented by Mr. Chelvarajah and Mr. S. Vellupillay (Secretary General) and Ceylon Federation by Sir dough Thuraisingam, Mr. V. Selvanayagam and Mr. Robert Sundram.
After considerable discussions, the meeting ended in a failure.
PERIOD 1975 /1976
With the change in name from “Malayan Ceylonese Congress” to “Malaysian Ceylonese Congress” under the Constitutional amendments accepted at the Central General Assembly held in October 1975 and subsequently approved by the Registrar of Societies, the M. C. C. has forged ahead and was becoming increasingly popular. With the National President, YB. Senator Dato (Dr) C. Sinnadurai being a Senator representing the ‘minority communities’ of Malaysia, the MCC had emerged as the sole spokesman of the Malaysian Ceylonese who formed the majority of the minority races, voicing their opinions, aspirations and problems at the highest possible platform, the Dewan Negara.
The M. C. C. had twenty (20) branches in some six states of Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. The M. C. C. had grass root level organisational contacts with the majority of the Malaysian Ceylonese who were mainly concentrated in these areas. The M.C.C. then had some individual members from Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Trengganu and even Sabah.
M. C. C. National Youth Council:
A pro-tem MCC National Youth Council was set up to assist the Central Executive Council in organising Youth Sections in other branches and to convene the first MCC National Youth Assembly. However due to various problems, the Pro-tern Council was dissolved in accordance with the decision made by the Central Executive Council on
1st August 1976 and the Central Executive Council directed the Central Working Committee to organise the MCC National Youth Assembly.
Malaysian Ceylonese Unity:
A select committee comprising of Mr. K. Somasundram and Mr. Arthur G. Lee with Dr. S. Apputhurai as alternate member was set up to further re-organise discussions with the Ceylon Federation of Malaya. The Malaysian Sinhalese Association was to be invited to the meeting so as to pave the way for a summit meeting
However the Malaysian Sinhalese Association President had indicated that his association could come in only as a joint alliance and would send delegates from the Association.
The Select Committee arrived at some concrete proposals and reported back to their respective organisations.
Revolving Scholarship Fund:
Arising from the resolution made at the Central General Assembly held on Saturday 18th October 1975, a sub-committee was set up to draw up the Rules and Regulations for the scholarship fund.
The Rules and Regulations of the MCC Scholarship Fund was accepted at the 1st Central Executive Council meeting held on 11th June 1976 and subsequently approved by the Registrar of Societies.
With the setting up of the revolving scholarship fund, the MCC had taken positive steps towards the realisation of one of our fundamental objectives of the MCC. The fund stood then at RM3,266.71
National Monument Restoration Fund:
The MCC Headquarters initiated a fund raising project to collect money for the National Monument Restoration Fund and with the support of the branches presented to the then Mentri Besar of Selangor, Dato Harun ldris a sum Ringgit One thousand and one (RM1,001.OO)
M.C.C. PRESIDENT IN THE SENATE:
The MCC President Dato (Dr) C. Sinnadurai had on many occasions raised important matters pertaining to the Malaysian Ceylonese in particular and the minority communities and others in general. Amongst the matters raised by him included:
a) Higher Education opportunities and training;
b) Participation in land schemes and agro-based ventures;
c) Constitutional amendments in respect of provisions dealing with religious institutions;
d) Drug Abuses;
e) Third Malaysia Plan — our participation and involvement
f) Ceylonese representation in Statutory bodies, Boards,
g) Employment opportunities
h) Citizenship and related problems
i) Tribute to the late Tun Abdul Razak
j) Compulsory service of medical practitioners.
Extracts from Presidents Page
‘On occasions one is asked “Why the M. C. C.? It is widely known that majority of our people do not belong to any political group and that we lack a single strong organisation. Our past weaknesses are now beginning to tell on us and our children. Hitherto, we had been fortunate to obtain places in the various institutions of Higher learning. To many parents this has now become a real nightmare and they are faced with other problems too! It is the community as a whole that is to be blamed for the situation we are in today. They are still refusing to re-orientate themselves and move with the times for in politics when the train is moving, you have to get on. It doesn’t come around a second time.”
So one notes there is a degree of Despair’ causing principally depression and it is very little one individual can do, hence the need for an organization like the
M. C. C. which is now gaining momentum. The M.C. C. could look into your problems and prospects, but to be effective there should be strong basic support. This is why the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress has set up Divisional branches all over the country and we would once again appeal to our community to enroll themselves as members for herein lies our strength and solidarity. We need your active participation at all levels.”
"You know these are very hard times for us. They are times that require the closest co-operation. They also require the dedication of every one of us to our common National interest. The Governments recognition of the M. C. C. has already re-awakened our faith and hope. We have the capability to overcome the hard realities of our times, if only we have the will and if our past mistrust and recrimination give way to mutual understanding, respect for each other, and a meaningful co-operation and operate beyond the narrow circle of self-interest. Then you and I can be optimistic about the future. Much remains to be done. It is through our enterprise and diligence only we can hope to provide our children with wider opportunities for education and economic security.”
“Our beloved Prime Minister has assured us the Government will continue to safeguard the rights of the minorities, hence our choice is clear and our responsibility compelling. We have a pledge to honour. Let us join hands and demonstrate to future generations that our vision was equal to our children.”
M. C. C. is like a family, capable of healthy growth, through tolerance, forbearance and greater understanding of our people and problems’.”
March 1975 — “A red-letter day”
The 22nd of March, 1975 went down in the History of the MCC as a red-letter day, for it was on this day that the Nirwana Ballroom of the Kuala Lumpur Hilton saw the largest gathering of Ceylonese together with those at the helm of the Government.
For it was on that day that the MCC organised a tea-reception in honour of the Hon’ble Tun Abdul Razak to congratulate the Tun for the landslide victory of the Barisan Nasional and to rejoice over the appointment of Datuk (Dr) C. Sinnadurai as a Senator to represent the Malaysian Ceylonese.
The occasion marked the beginning of true rapport between the MCC
and the Government.
In his speech, Tun said that he was pleased to have been able to attend the function and greatly appreciated the support given to the Barisan Nasional by the Malaysian Ceylonese.
Quote: “I would like to thank the members of the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress for their support and activities which they carried out, which brought about success in the elections. I would like to say that in order to preserve this victory, we must work and give all our support to the policies and programme which are being implemented by the Government.”
In congratulating Datuk (Dr) C. Sinnadurai on his appointment as a Senator, Tun said the following:
“Datuk (Dr) C. Sinnadurai has been in the Government service for a long time and although he is getting on in age, he is still active in the welfare and political fields. The appointment is in recognition of his many good qualities. He is now the representative of the Ceylonese community in the Dewan Negara.”
Datuk (Dr) C. Sinnadurai in his speech gave an insight into the role of the Ceylonese participation in the development of Malaysia and the role they played. He also paid tribute to Tun Razak for his dedication and devotion inspired leadership, optimistic personality and democratic liberalism which had a11 jointly instilled trust and confidence in the hearts and minds of all Malaysians thus winning the elections wIth ease and grace.”
As to his appointment as a Senator, he said;
"My appointment to the Upper House by His Majesty on the advice of the Prime Minister has given one a great personal satisfaction for which I am truly thankful and grateful This recognition has added both pride and lustre to the MCC"
The Biennial General Assembly held on 10th October, 1976 had approved the following
Resolution: “That the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress set up a Building Fund with the view to erecting a building in Kuala Lumpur for the Congress.”
PERIOD 1978 to 1980
Of the 20 branches that existed originally, some had been deregistered and some were in a state of inactivity. The President said that the branches like Kuala Selangor, Kuala Kubu and Muar did not have any Ceylonese residents and as such it was difficult to maintain a branch in these districts.
No special effort was made to boost this fund which remained at RM6,179.51 as at 31st December 1980. During the period under review two education grants were given to Mas. P. Thavendran of Petaling Jaya and Miss N. Kanasar of Kajang to continue
H. S. C. studies.
There were 33 Life Members on record.
M.C.C. National President Honoured:
Our National President Tan Sri Dato (Or) C. Sinnadurai was conferred with the Doctor of Science (Hon) by the University of Jaffna for his loudable contribution in the fields of science and medicine. He was also re-appointed to the Senate by Duli Yang Maha Mulia Yang DiPertuan Agong.
The Second Biennial Central General Assembly 1979:
The Second Biennial Central General Assemblywas held on Sunday 18th March. 1979 at 9.00 a.m. at Balai Raya, Jalan Selangor, Petaling Jaya. There were over 200 participants including 60 delegates, observers and members from the various Branches and States.
The National President, Senator Tan Sri Dato Dr. C. Sinnadurai in welcoming the delegates thanked them for their presence, continued support and co-operation. He was particularly happy to note the professional group now showing interest and added that this augurs well for the future and in maintaining values and identity.
Appended below are extracts from his speech:
He said "Some seem to falter and doubt what the M. C. C. could achieve and added that the doubting mind normally questions the wisdom of going after — the two in the bush leaving the one in the hand.”
It is said that here he refferred to the few who suggested that the M.C.C. should join forces with other political parties causing a dilemma.
He went on to say "True we had a glorious past but but now we seem unprepared for the future and face the challenge of the imes and adjust to the changing political conditions. Hence our youth have to face an unknown future"
He stressed, “We the Ceylonese have neither political power nor economic strength hence the need for an organisation like the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress so that our voice could be heard in and outside Parliament, which means we have to strengthen ourselves. How many are really interested in the general welfare of the community and think that it was mainly due to lack of foresight and planning. Some people linger after power. Yes power is sought but the burden that comes with power is not welcome except by a few.”
He requested the members to be rational, realistic, and to work towards a common destiny which means more members, more branches, and more dedicated people. Only then could we serve as a potent force and through our collective efforts be able to achieve something better than minority representation in some of the district councils and few extra places for our children in the institutions of higher learning. His theme for the day was “Planned Togetherness.”
In summing up he said, “M. C. C. has a definite role to play. It was up to the members to give the headquarters the confidence, greater co-operation thereby making the M. C. C. more dynamic and progressive. The members must help to improve the general shape of our preferable future. If they prefer to remain in isolation and leave things to fate, I can only recall what the Prime Minister of Singapore said some years ago:”
He had said, “If a group of people are not organised into a community and always depending on the government to do things for them, that group of people will ultimately perish.”
Life Membership Fees:
It was on the proposal of Petaling Jaya that the existing Life Membership fee of one hundred dollars (RM100/-) was amended to fifty-two dollars (RM52/-) and that this could be paid in full or by six monthly installments or less.
The M. C. C. National Youth Section organised a successful seminar on 20th April, 1980 at the Faculty of Education, University of Malaysia.
The following were the persons who presented papers:
i) Mr. Uvais Ahamed from the U.N.E.S.C.O. and a former Director of Education in Sri Lanka presented a paper on “Bridging the Human Gap — New Prospective in Learning for Development.”
He pointed out that teaching youngsters is nowadays linked a great deal more to stimulating the independent “learning” process of the young. Innovation should be encouraged at every level.
ii) Mr. Ong Sang Kuang from Bank Negara gave an enlightening speech on “Trends Malaysian Economy.”
Mr. John Doraisamy of the University of Malaya presented a stimulating paper on “Development on Social consequences and possible remedy in which he commented on the differennce between material standards as well as quality of life in considering the development of socety.
Ther was a very provocative question and answer session. Representatives from MCC, attended
PERIOD 1981 /1982
The Third Biennial Central General Assembly of the MCC was held on Sunday 16th August 1981 at 9.30 a.m. at the Selangor Girls Guides Association Hall, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. There were 120 participants including 93 delegates, observers and members from the various branches and states who attended the General Assembly.
Extracts from Welcome Address by The President, Senator Tan Sri Dato Dr. C. Sinnadurai:
“Though the work of the executive committee was voluntary there was no lack of interest or dedication to serve the MCC whenever members were called upon to volunteer their services. It was essential to continue being united and to work collectively to achieve continuity in the future although we are a minority community.”
“We have to anticipate programmes and plan ahead. Programmes have to be formulated for the development and betterment of the community. We have to search for and decide on alternatives and priorities in deciding on our objectives and methods. In order to attain this objective we must know the precise information of the community. Tomorrow’s success depends on the plans of today and if something is to be done it is worth doing it well”.
“People should become aware of what the MCC is and what it can achieve for the community. Members should come together to cultivate unity and discipline which has been the secret of success of the MCC” he said.
The following resolution was passed:
“The Scholarship and Loan Fund which was resolved at the General Assembly held on 18th and 19th October 1975 appears to be dormant with a meager sum of about $5,000!- to its credit. In order to boost the Fund a dynamic Committee be formed which shall find ways and means to achieve a minimum target of $500,000!-. It is strongly felt that the survival and progress of the Ceylonese community depends to a large extent on education and advancement”.
It was felt that since the Ceylonese comprised only 1% of the Malaysian community it was necessary to find ways and means to set up their own fund to cater specially for the needs of the poorer families. Consideration should be given to setting up of training centers. The Fund could take the form of a national unit fund or unit trust for investments. Although the fund was primarily for educational purposes, consideration may be given to housing and welfare projects.
It was agreed to set up the Scholarship Fund with Mr. P. T. Samanther as Chairman and Mr. T. Balasingam as Vice Chairman and Mr. K. Veerasingam as member with powers to co-opt members of the committee.
However no special efforts were made to boost this fund which remained at $4,984.51 as at 31st December 1982. During the period under review an air ticket worth $900!- was given to Mr Christie Anthony to study law in U.K as as it was considered a deserving case
National President Speaks
On 4th February 1982 the Hon'ble Senator Tan Sri Datuk Dr. C. Sinnadurai, our President, spoke on behalf of Tamils of Ceylonese origin in Malaysia at the Sri Lanka Independence Day Reception organized by the Sri Lanka High Commission. Tan Sri urged that the Sri Lanka Government work sincerely for the benefit of all people living in whichever part of the country.
On Sunday 10th May 1981 our National President spoke on behalf of Malaysians of Ceylonese origin at a reception for the visiting Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr. R. Premadasa at the Hotel Equatorial in Kuala Lumpur.
Reception in Honour of Prime Minister:
A dinner was organized by the National Headquarters on 22nd December, 1981, to honour Y.A.B. Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad as the Fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia at the Kalamandapam, Jalan Scott, Kuala Lumpur, on behalf of the Malaysian Ceylonese Community.
Extracts from the Welcome Speech of the President:
“Dato Seri, we thank you most sincerely and warmly for giving us this opportunity to honour you in our homely atmosphere, with oriental music and in keeping with our
age-old customs and traditions, though blended with a Malaysian culture to suit the times, thanks to the Temple of Fine Arts — Perbadanan Kesenian for Malaysian history is a continuing panorama”.
‘Dato Seri, these cultural dances are the spontaneous expressions of the human sorrows and joys of living — the phantasmagoria of human existence. This gathering of our community both Sinhalese and Tamils from far and near, despite the fact that it is a working day, is a sincere expression of the high regard we have for you and the Barisan Nasional Government”.
“It is superfluous for me to tell his rise to the highest office is rapid, if not meteoric. True, it was an uphill struggle all the way and the road was very bumpy too besides the journey was long and wearisome but he took his ups and downs good-naturedly, because he could see things in their true proportions. His ultimate success is due to his diligence, perseverance and persistence. His history attests the eternal restlessness of his spirit..”
“In the case of our Dato Seri, this is a hard truth for his path was not strewn with roses, jasmine or orchids like today. Today we all know politics has satisfied his ambition for he has reached the highest political end, which has been attained through manifold struggles and defeats for it was beset countless obstacles: Your life is a great school”.
“He is now shouldering the highest responsibility in life but I can tell you he bears these burdens cheerfully and his greatest gift to his people is fearlessness. We have seen in recent times that he will not hesitate to speak out his mind without fear or favour even against the very powerful forces and interests and therefore I say his character is the key to our future and his courageous criticism, his style of moral and fearless leadership through thought, word and deed will give Malaysia a new stature in the international sphere”.
“We the Malaysian Ceylonese community reaffirm our pledge and our undivided loyalty and unqualified support to our King, His Brother Rulers, to you and the Government, for this is the only way we could remain as a cohesive people and help in Nation building as props and pillars and shining lights in Councils and in Parliament, remembering again and again Government is a co-operative effort in which all citizens must take part. You are aware our forbears were noted for the efficiency and competence. We ever remain grateful to Their Royal Highnesses and to the Government for your benevolence and tolerance, for your gratitude and goodwill and for granting us the freedom of worship and a seat in Upper House”.
“Data Seri, let me say again — we thank you both sincerely and warmly for finding the time to be with us.Personally I deeply appreciate this opportunity to address so notable an audience on such a historic occasion, and to this memorable occasion, I wish to present a momento to Dato Seri on behalf of the community with a word of prayer — Para kita yang dikasihi ucapan selamat dan sehat walafiat berlanjutan memimpin Negara kita .Terimah kasih’
Extract from the Prime Ministers Speech:
The Ceylonese community, though numerically small, has played a significant role. It is an educated community of professional's.Members of the Ceylonese community have helped to build the Malayan Railway services in particular”.
During my young days I have admired the achievements in education among the Ceylonese comunity. It was the Ceylonese doctors who had shown to other Malaysians that the medical profession need not be be the preserve of the colonial masters and that other Malaysians could enter the field”.
“I understand that the Ceylonese community is unable to play a significant role in politics and the government has recognised their position and has appointed one Ceylonese leader as Senator and the government cannot do much more as there are demands from other minority communities”.
“The Ceylonese community is not prominent in the political field but none the less, its contribution is significant and I hope the Ceylonese will continue to play a leading role”.
“The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress is not a big political force but gives support to the party in power and its sympathies are with the Barisan National. I hope this support will continue in the future”.
“I hope the good relationship that is found between the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress and other communities will continue in the future.”
“The cultural dances performed this evening had elements of cultural influences from Malay and Chinese cultures. This is essentially what Malaysian culture is”.
“The Ceylonese community has made a significant contribution in the various professions, and I hope Malaysian Ceylonese community will continue to play a significant role”.
“Once again I thank you all on behalf of my wife and myself”
Malam MCC 1981
A get together was organized by the National Headquarters on 15th August 1981 at the Girl Guides Association Hall, Jalan Abdul Samad, Kuala Lumpur.
The three hour programme included dances, vocal and a few surprise items.It was a contribution dinner cum cultural programme. More then 500 members from various branches took part. Aprofit of $2,661.35 was made.
Major activities organized by the National Youth
Mr. T. Vasudevan from the University of Malaya and Mr. J. Doraisamy also from the University of Malaya. The Organising Chairman was Mr. R. Gunasingam. About 80 youth from various organizations attended this seminar.
ii) A Personal Development Seminar: This was held on 11th October, 1981 at Bangunan Angkasaraya, Kuala Lumpur. The one day seminar was conducted by Mr. K. Karunamoorthy. About 28 participants actively took part in this seminar.
iii) Workshop on Self-Employment: This workshop was held at the Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur on the 4th and 5th December 1981. Specialists and Consultants on various fields spoke during the seminar which was organized by Mr. A. Kanesalingam. About 46 youth from various branches attended this very enlightening seminar.
iv) Effective Communication: This seminar was held on 3rd and 4th December 1982 at YMCA, Jalan Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. Individuals from various ASEAN countries with expertise in the field of information, travel and related matters were guest speakers at this two-day seminar organized by Mr. R. Gunasingam.
The Fourth Biennial Central General Assembly of M. C. C. was held on Sunday 4th September 1983 at 9.30 a.m. at Dewan CUEPACS, Jalan Thamby Abdullah, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
Extract from the President’s Speech — Senator Tan Sri Dr. C. Sinnadurai.
“It is easy to speak of unity but it is another matter to practice it, for there are some who act like thorns in the flesh. All the same we need an organization to look after our interests and voice our wants; though there are a few who are advocating our people to join other parties. We all know the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress is recognized by the Government and so, if our people are genuine and sincere, should come forward and make the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress an effective party.”
“You will agree that the secret of success is a certain degree of heartiness and fellow-feeling — a sense of belonging and oneness. Let us be true to ourselves and truthfulness is the corner-stone of character”.
“Know thyself by thyself and through others.”
“The richest bequest any man can leave to his Youth is that of a shining spotless example. Every man is the architect of his own character and likewise everyman’s hopes and aspirations are in him. True, changes are needed and change means progress but it should be constructive and always with the future in mind; and the best preparation for the future is the present well seen to, the last duty — well done.”
“We need to set goals for ourselves which are attainable for in life everything has a ‘realistic limit’. Being humans we all suffer from ‘ego-weakness’ and lack the unifying moral force. I do hope someone will make positive efforts to keep the organisation in a healthy condition and so today let us elect a good for success requires not only creative leadership but conjoined efforts, for you will agree the future is purchased by the present by the present and therefore your personal participation counts.
“Let us together develop a pattern of life for our children to follow Let us not tarnish our hearts by our minds of others by our words or deeds Ladies & Gentlemen — I feel the time has come for me to step down and give way to a younger man to lead us — a man of influence and one who is acceptable to you. I may have not achieved much but I have carried out my dutes with a clear conscience. I thank you all for the support given to me over the years You all did really make the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress something.”
“I do hope that the in-coming President and the Committee will reassess our problems and get our priorities right and would took at the larger issues of life and work for the promotion of common values, community’s welfare and National progress. Always think of the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress and its future. In life what you are matters, not what others think of you and what we need most is not so much to realize the ideal as to idealize the real.”
Election of Pro-tern Chairman, National Youth:
Due to lack of participation of Youths from the various Branches, it was not possible to form the Official National Youth Committee. As such a pro-tern Organising Committee for the year 1983 was formed.
Mr. K. Karunamoorthy was the Chairman of the pro-tern committee.
The Youth Committee undertook a project to compile an information Directory of various Ceylonese professionals. The object of this Directory was to identify these professionals so as to seek their assistance in their future activities.
Election of Pro-tem Chairman, National Women:
Miss Theresa D. Joseph was elected pro-tern Chairman of National Women’s Section by a show of hands. The other candidate nominated was Miss T. Kandavanam
Under the distinguished patronage of Y.B. Dato Sharir Abdul Samad, Minister of the Federal Territory, a Christmas Party was organized on 15th December, 1984 at the Brickfields Railway Club, Kuala Lumpur.
More than hundred children from the Orphanages, handicapped and Spastic homes attended this Party and enjoyed themselves very much in a cordial and friendly atmosphere.
The MCC National Women’s Council was reactivated after a lapse of seven years. The General Assembly was officially declared open by Deputy Minister Y.B.Bhg. Puan Sharifah Dorah from the Prime Minister’s Department on 16th December, 1984 at the Selangor Girl Guide’s Association, Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, Kuala Lumpur.
The success of the MCC National Women’s Council, which is a consultative and co-ordinating body for the Women’s Section, can only be possible through whole hearted support and co-operation of its Women’s Section. With added strength in membership and continued support and active participation of members, the NWC can look forward to a more fruitful and challenging future.
At this B.C.G.A., Tan Sri Dato’ Sri V. Jeyaratnam was declared duly elected unopposed as the” President.
The two other nominations — Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. C. Sinnadurai and Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah withdrew.
Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. C Sinnadurai was unanimously accepted as a Permanent Adviser to the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress.
A Vote of Thanks:
The following proposal was unanimously adopted:
“This Fourth Bienn central General Assembly of the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress held on 4th Septe i?r 1983, records with deep appreciation the sincere, dedicated and valuable services rendered by the past National President Tan Sri Datuk Dr. C. Sinnadurai for the betterment, development and progress of the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress for the last 13 years. His contribution is hereby acknowledged.”
The new President:
Tan Sri Dato’ Sen V. Jeyaratnam thanked the members for having elected him as the National President. He said he had known Tan Sri Sinnadurai for the past 20 years and he praised him for the good work he had done for the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress. He also urged the members for unity and co-operation. He said that he will play his part to enhance the good name of the community and whatever role he may be called upon to play for the betterment of all.
Being the voice of a minority community and in realisation of the fact that the community lacks political clout in terms of numerical strength, efforts were geared towards forging unity within the community towards achieving the organisation aims and objects. The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress, though not as yet a component party of the Barisan National had pledged its full hearted support for the Barisan National.
The Barisan National has provided good support to the Ceylonese Community relatively and continues to be the only party that could guarantee the future of the Ceylonese and other minority communities in the country.
With the National President, a prominent lawyer in addition to being the Chairman and Director of several companies and numerous Welfare Organisations, further enhanced the activities of the Congress towards leading our community towards greater progress.
The Scholarship Fund remained at RM4,984.31 as at 31st December, 1983. The Council approved a of RM2,000/- to Miss Rajeswary Shanmugarajah of Kajang and RM1 ,000/- to Miss Pauline D. Nesarajah of Port Dickson both of whom were from poor families to study at the University of Malaya.
The Central Exeutive Committee at a meeting on 24th June, 1984 unanimously agreed to the National President’s proposal that te Malaysian Ceylonese Congress join hands with the Malaysian Ceylonese Education Fund (MCEF) which had a license to start a Lottery to raise funds for Schorlarships.
It was decided to name it Malaysian Ceylonese Education Lottery Fund and to pnnt half a million (500.000) tickets at one dollar each. Dr V Sivaloqanathan was appointed the Executive Chairman, Chairman, Ad hoc committee Lottery Fund.
A CLARION CALL made by the National President on this subject is extracted below:
MALAYSIAN CEYLONESE EDUCATIONAL LOTTERY FUND
TO ALL MALAYSIAN CEYLONESE
This is the President of the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress addressing you. In my view the three important questions confronting us immediately are:
(i) Is MCC a political party?
(ii)What is the political strength of MCC?
(iii)What is the present and future role of MCC?
The answer to question (i) is “Yes”. To question (ii) the answer is “Almost nil”, at the present time but we could muster ourselves to be a force to reckon with.
It was based on the answers to the first two questions that my Council and I addressed ourselves to answer the third question. How best can the MCC serve the Malaysian Ceylonese effectively?
We are a minority community and hence we have little political strength in numbers.This is compounded by a lack of unity amongst us. So how best can we strengthen ourselves? First there must be unity. For unity there must be a common purpose. What is this common purpose?
The desire to ensure the welfare and well-being of all Malaysian Ceylonese — at least up to the time when ethnicity will not be the basis of politics and Government policies in our country.
It would indeed be a red letter day when we can all be just Malaysians without the added appellation. Malays, Chinese, Indians, Ceylonese, etc., and all activities both in Government and private sectors will be carried out without any regard to ethnic origin. Until such time, we are forced to take action to see the well-being of this community is ensured and the future not bleak.
Since we have no political muscle in numbers, how then can we gain strength? By being in a position to contribute maximally towards the well-being and development of our country. History has shown that, that has been our forte’.
How can this be achieved? Through proper and disciplined education to produce loyal and effectively productive citizens. We should not be and must not be a liability. Hence our first priority is EDUCATION.
One area where immediate attention is needed is in the realms of higher education. There is very little problem with primary and secondary education. It is only when tertiary education is considered that problems surface. One of them is the paucity of available financial assistance to some of the candidates who have gained admission to institutions of higher learning. Our concept now is that, any child who has gained admission to a recognized institution of higher learning through merit should not be deprived of the opportunity to continue the education through lack of funds. How can this be done? By executing form of revolving aid fund. Towards this end we are directing our immediate attention and efforts.
There are some Ceylonese organizations which are already providing this kind of assistance. When we studied this in dept we found 1 that it was not enough. In fact, if we can pool all our resources we can strengthen ourselves considerably. The Malaysian Ceylonese Education Foundation is one such providing this kind of service for the last 7-8 years. This was started by a group of concerned professionals through thei own contributions and from funds collected from individual. Their initiative and efforts are commendable indeed. Their unblemished track record is worthy of consideration.
We are closely collaborating with th MCEF to boost up the finances, so that adequate financial aid can be made available to all deserving candidates The immediate one put into action is the Malaysian Ceylonese Education Lottery Fund.Half a million tickets are on sale at one dollar each. I urge each and every one of you to participate in this wholeheartedly to make this a complete success. You can do this by buying some tickets yourself and also by helping to sell them. This in fact is a test of our unity — unity for a good cause and for self help. In this success will depend our future and more ambitious efforts.
Proper rules and guidelines will be drawn up to ensure that all deserving children will get some form of assistance from this service with limits.
Needless for me to emphasise, that, by implementing and properly carrying out this activity, we will be supplementing and complementing the efforts made by our Government and also, hopefully, to eliminate any inequities.
This worthy cause, I am sure, will merit your considered, concerned and wholehearted support.
Sd. (Tan Sri Datuk Sri V. Jeyaratnam)
Malaysian Ceylonese Education Lottery Fund’
Malaysian Ceylonese Congress.
Tamil Relief Fund:
The Central Executive Council proposed and agreed to set up the Tamil’s Relief Fund. In this respect the following were appointed as Trustees:
Dr. Guna Sittampatam - Medical Practitioner
Mr. T. Thanapalan - Accountant
Mr. S. Kandasivam - Lawyer
Mr. A. Kanesalingam - Lawyer
The Tamil’s Relief Fund was set up and the Trustees had all executed a Trust Declaration which was duly stamped. A current account was opened with the Standard Chartered Bank. Five thousand (5,000) appeal letters were sent out to Malaysians of Tamil origin. It is learnt that only 150 persons responded and about RM27,000/- was received. Of this amount RM2,000/- was paid out towards printing and postage expenses.
The Central Executive Council at its meeting on 2nd December, 1984 approved the change of address to No: 11, Jalan Emas, 31/2 mile Jalan Sungei Besi, Kuala Lumpur.
A wall to wall carpet room with modern furniture, typewriter, telephone and other facilities were given free of charge by the Deputy President, Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah.
Encik S. Rajadural a Council Member from lpoh offered a sum of RM200/- per month to a Part-Time clerk.
• It was noted with regret that of the 20 Branches which existed originally, only 13 Branches were functioning and some in a state of inactivity.
• The 13 active Branches were:
1 Jóhore South
5 Temerloh / Mentakab
9.KL South / Damansara
EXTRACTS FROM “THE STAR” Thursday 16th August, 1984
“The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress will co-operate with the M.I.C. in all areas of mutual intere especially in education, culture and business.”
“Congress President Tan Sri V. Jeyaratnam said here today Malaysians of Ceylonese origin sho continue to support Maika Holdings, the inyestment arm of the MIC, because it was a praiseworthy project”.
He said the Ceylonese community should feel proud of the MIC, especially of party president Datuk S. Samy Vellu for paving the way to greater national unity by seeking to enhance the role of Malaysians of both Indian and Ceylonese origin.”
“Maika Holdings will give tremendous investment opportunities to Indian and Ceylonese Tamils who by reason of holding shares in it, will be able to take part in its activities,” he added.”
“Tan Sri Jeyaratnam said Maika Holdings would provide Indians with job opportunities which had been limited.”
“He said the MIC had opened the doors to Ceylonese Tamils by appointing Tan Sri C. Selvarajah as Maika Holdings chairman.”
‘The Ceylonese cannot remain in isolation and should co-operate with Indians so that, as a group, we will be strong economically and can make a valuable contribution to the country’s economy.”
“Although we are one of Malaysia’s smallest communities, we have played an important role in the country’s development.”
“We pledge to do our utmost to contribute to national unity and progress, added Tan Sri Jeyaratnam.”
PERIOD 1985 / 1986
Since the time Tan Sri Dato Sen V. Jeyaratnam was installed as the President of MCC in 1984, it had been the leadership’s main concern to raise the profile of the Ceylonese community in Malaysia. His priority concern was to help our children not to be deprived of an education for want of funds.
The next was to install business opportunities for the members. Lastly was to remove enmity among members and allow members of our communit to work in a Free framework and harmony both within our society and between various Ceylonese organizations in Malaysia.
Tan Sri Dato Seri V. Jeyaratnam continue as President and was istrumental in the Educational Lottery to raise funds for the Malaysian Ceylonese Education Foundation, an independent organization run by Tamil well wishers. The MCC helped to raise much needed funds to raise funds to be used as scholarship loans.
The Education lottery fund realized a profit of RM227,000.00. The money was made available to the Malaysian Ceylonese Education FUnd in which body the MCC was represented.
The draw of the lottery was celebrated in style by hosting a dinner at the Pan Pacific Hotel on 3rd May 1986, where the prizes were drawn and a Saree Queen contest was held to highlight the evening. About 500 members and well wishers were present. This was indeed a significant landmark in the history of the MCC and the MCEF.
The foundation attracted more well wishers and had been enlarged for the awards of Scholarship loans to both local and overseas students. It is currently run under the name of Malaysia Community Education Foundation (MCEF)
Since then till the end of 1986, a total of 12 students had obtained scholarship loans.
By the end of 1986, many proposals for business ventures were discussed. This was motivated by our Prime Minister’s call to be more self-reliant.
Co-operation between Ceylonese Organisations:
With the launching of the lottery fund, there was co-operation between various Ceylonese organisations. There was rapport built mainly with the Jaffnese Co-operative Society.
Fifth Biennial Central General Assembly:
The Fifth Biennial Central General Assembly of the MCC was held on Sunday 30th March 1986 at 9.30 a.m. at Dewan Cuepacs, Jalan Thamby Abdullah, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
There were over 180 persons present of which 55 were office bearers, 72 delegates and 7 officials from Headquarters making a total of 134 participants. The rest were observers from the various branches of the MC who attended the General Assembly.
Extracts from the President’s Address:
Tan Sri Dato Sen V. Jeyaratnam PSM, DPMP, STMP, JP.
“Within these two years of ascending the Presidency, there were times when we had difficulties in telling the members of our Community, what is the objective of our existence. There were and are many who have ridiculed us by asking us, what we have done for the community? Now we do not have to fight shy of facing these people. Instead we can now ask them what they have done for the community or whether they have contributed towards achieving the goals for the Malaysian Ceylonese Community”
“It is within this framework that I have voiced my views on the three main thrusts and directions for our community.”
“Top priority”, as far as I can see, is Education. Closely following this would be career opportunities.Following this at a later stage will be a Socio-Economic Direction.”
At this juncture , I would like to place on record our gratitude to a number concerned professional members of our community who have set up the Malaysian Ceylonese Education Foundation – the MCEF.” So fat 17 Ceylonese youths have benefited from their foresight.”
I have had much touching experience, where youths who with their excellent results have secured places in institutions of higher learnig, due to lack of funds their talents left to waste. Their desires have not been fulfilled. Finaly they are compelled to accept clerical positions. Can we allow this to go on?.
“With the new thinking and new spirit within members of our community, the provision for career opportunities for our future generations would soon be implemented.”
“As for the politico-economic direction, this can only be considered once we are economically strong, united and a viable organisation. Only then we will be in a position to look after the needs of the people.”
“Our Prime Minister, since his ascension to the ‘Hot Seat’ has time and again instilled into the minds of all Malaysians to be more self reliant. The MCC has to heed to his call.”
“In any democratic organization, there can only be one leader. Each and every one who are members of such organisations should endeavour to work in harmony and respect the leadership, withstanding any differences which should be solved. Decisions made unanimously or by the majority should be respected and adhered to by all.”
In conclusion the report read, “We have been left as a minority community to tend ourselves with the economic situation in the country.
This we must be prepared to adopt and attune ourselves to the challenging conditions and circumstances so as to forge ahead and establish ourselves in the main stream of the political, social and economic arena as a respected and accountable community. To achieve this end we have to consolidate ourselves to tackle the many problems confronting us at the present time.”
“The success of an organisation is to be measured not by the strength of its members but by the degree of benefit derived from it by the members.”
National MCC Women Biennial General Assembly:
Yg. Bhg. Tan Sri Fatimah Hashim, the President of National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO) declared open the Assembly. The Deputy MCC President, Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah also addressed the Assembly and later conducted the Business Session.
About 44 delegates and observers attended the Assembly which was held at the Kalamandapam Hall, Kuala Lumpur.
PERIOD 1987 /1988
Members from almost all Ceylonese based organisations have fully supported and enthusiastically participated and attended the various functions and activities organised by the MCC Branches and MCC Headquarters. This attitude augurs well for the unification and progress of MCC.
At the closing ceremony of the Pan Malaysian Ceylonese Games Carnival held in Seremban, the President of the Negri Sembilan Ceylonese Association and Chairman of the meet, Mr. K Gunaratnam in his speech said that the future political and socio-economic progress of the Malaysian Ceylonese to a great extend lies with the
M. C. C. and urged every Malaysian Ceylonese to support the MCC by enrolling as a member of MCC.
His speech was well received by the audience including the several leaders of the various state Ceylonese Associations in the country.
With the election of YB Dato’ (Dr) N. Arumugasamy as the President of MCC, the main aim of the MCC was to create an awareness not only within the Ceylonese Community, but with other communities in Malaysia of the existence of MCC as a political party. To a certain extent the MCC was able to achieve a certain measure of success in this direction with more and more Ceylonese participating in the activities of the MCC.
The MCC took pride on being recognised and received invitations from the Government and the ruling party in Malaysia, the Barisan National, for the MOO to participate in various functions and activities.
The MCC played an active role in the running of MCEF with three of its nominees sitting in the Board of MCEF. They wereYB Dato’ (Dr) N. Arumugasamy, Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah and Mr. I. G. Chandran.
Dato (Dr) N. Arumugasamy was also the Vice-President of MCEF and the MCC was able to have a certain measure of influence in the running of MCEF.
MCC Headquarters also offered its services as central collection centre for the various MCC Branches.
With the close co-operation established with the MCEF and with successful implementation of the MCEF activities, the MCC had a moral obligation to raise funds for the Foundation.
Theme: “Strategy for our participation in our country’s Economic Activities and the creation of Employment Opportunities.”
This seminar was held at Kuala Lumpur Merlin Hotel for two days on 8th and 9th August, 1987 from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
About 103 members of the Ceylonese community including representatives from seven Ceylonese-based organisationa participated on paying a registration fee of RM75.00 per participant.
Extract of message from the Souvenr programme
Tan Sri Datuk Seri V. Jeyaratnam
“in the wake of the present myriad of complex economic problems facing our co mmunity I am pleased t note that the choice of the theme pf today’s seminar is most timely and appropriate . With slower national economic growth and the rapidly diminishing employment opportunities available to our Youth, I feel that by addressing ourselves to these problems, we may be able to arrive at some pragmatic solutions, and a positive framework for future action.”
“Whilst I concede that the Seminar s not an instant panacea to all our ills, it would provide the National Council with a blueprint around which we could shape our future course of action.”
b) Mr. M. Rajasingam, Chairman, Seminar Organising Committee:
“Our community which has been very proud of its past is now at the cross-roads. We are now compelled to take very difficult decisions within a very narrow range of options available. The quality of the decisions we take will set the direction of our future. This Seminar is, therefore, both appropriate and timely. Our concerns are mainly in the economic field especially in the area of employment for the youth, This is also the time when significant changes are taking place around us with new challenges and opportunities ahead of us. How we react to all these both individually as well as collectively will determine our place in the economic mainstream of our country.”
“We are confident that this Seminar will serve as a watershed in the life of our community and that the conclusions of this Seminar will constitute a springboard and frame for our community’s active participation and contribution to the further economic progress of our country.”
Various topics were discussed at this seminar as detailed below:
Topic 1: “Taking Stock of Existing Enterprises and Developing Them.”
Speaker / Presenter: Mr. M. Rajasingam (Retired Director General of Posts)
Topic 2: “Investment Opportunities in the Corporate Sector”
Speaker / Presenter: Mr. C. Rajendram (Adviser Bank Negara)
Topic 3: “Openings in Finance and Banking.”
Speaker I Presenter Dr. R. Thilainathan (General Manager, Bank Buruh Bhd, KL)
Topic 4: “Participation in the Agricultural Sector”.
Speaker I Presenter: Mr. M. Sivanesar (Deputy Director, Cocoa & Coconut Development,
Department of Agriculture).
Topic 5: “Opportunities in the Transport Section”
Speaker I Presenter: Mr. S. Navaratnam (Lecturer, Transport Studies, Malaysian Centre For Transport MARA Institute of Technology).
Topic 6: “Participation in Agricultural and Manufacturing Section”
Speaker I Presenter: Mr. J. Jegathesan (Director, Industrial Promotion, Malaysian Industrial Development Authority).
Recommendations of the Seminar:
The Seminar having taken cognizance of the views presented in the various working papers submitted and expressed by the participants emphasizes the need for unity and concerted action by our community for a stake in the Malaysian economy through active participation in all areas of the country’s economic activities and to provide employment opportunities for members of our community This very educational and innovative seminar was organized by the MCC Petal ing Jaya Branch.
Tan Sri Datuk Sen V. Jeyaratnam resigned as President a few months before the Biennial Central General Assembly and Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah was appointed as Acting President.
EXTRACTS FROM TH ACTING PRESIDENT’S SPEECH
(6TH Biennial Central General Assembly on Sunday 27th March , 1988)
‘The MCC is here, and here to stay. As future leaders of the Congress, all of us have a duty and obligation to all our members in our various branches back home to use the power of our minds, the power of our speech and our votes to apply this inherent obligations for the betterment of our Community as a whole and not to promote vested interests. It is the drawback of communal parties that it is unable to cater for individual ideologies or philosophies. As such, a communal party such as ours has a duty to have broad- based objectives and the central body must be seen to carry them out fairly and justly.”
“There must be flexibility within the margins of doing right but we should NOT aim to do the wrong nor be seen to condone or encourage wrong avenues of conduct; wrong avenues of conduct involves argument and waste of time and effort and the futility of effort frustrates and discourages people from positively serving our members.”
“I would like to see this aspect of raising funds, especially donations from well-wishers, like Mr. Ananda Krishnan, who promised to donate $100,000.00 towards the (scholarship) fund. In this way, we would do our bit to help our people so that the perennial question of ‘What has the MCC done for the people’ may be a biennial or triennial or a question of the past.”
“We have in the past expected the Government to give us more recognition like restoring the Senatorship, giving us a voice, but our strength in membership is diminishing. To ask for a voice, we need to build up our membership. It seems to be a ‘Catch Twenty-two’ situation.”
“It would seem that, while we would still apply our resources to re-instate our presence in the Senate and thereby having a voice in Government, we would at the same time build up our fluctuating membership by promoting life membership and we would seek to amend our Constitution to that effect to make it easier for members to stay on the roll.”
“I see a bright future for the MCC. With the co-operation of all or members, especially the professionals, other Ceylonese organisations like the JCS, JCHS, MCEF and also with dialogue with the MCC the next two years would be challenging. Our existence as the communal party has to be tailored to co-exist with the other races. Our Community has a wealth of minds, leadership, education and on harnessing such characteristics could prove to be seen to achieve what we want. We should be seen to be positive in our attitude not our self-destruction.”
NATIONAL MCC WOMEN COUNCIL:
i) Han Raya Contribution:
In recognition of the great sacrifice of our country’s soldiers and policemen to the nation, the NWC joined hands with the other women affiliates of NCWO under the distinguished chairmanship of the wife of the Malaysian Prime Minister, YB Datin Sri Siti Hasmah in bringing the festive cheer to these men.
On 12th May 1987, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, YB Dr. Siti Zaharah Sulaiman honoured the NWC with her esteemed presence during the packing of the “Omopodi’ by members from the various branches in and around Kuala Lumpur.
The MCC Women contributed 3,000 packets of ‘Omopodi’.
iii) National Council of Women’s Organisation (NCWO)
In line with the aims and objectives of the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress , the NWC affliated affiliated itself to the National Council of Women’s Organisation (NCWO) through which it gained much experience through involvelment in its activities.
The NWC was represented at NCWO by NWC Chairperson Miss Theresa Joseph and Miss Rajeswary Rajaratnam.
THE YEAR 1989
National Economic Consultative Council (NECC)
The formation of the National Economic Consultative Council (NECC) was formally announced by the Government in January 1989 and held its inaugural meeting on 19th January, 1989.
The aim and purpose of this Council was to bring about a more acceptable social and economic order after 1990, whereby all sections of the citizenship were expected to be more assimilated and be given a fair share of the nation’s economic cake.
Our President, Dato (Dr) N. Arumugasamy was appointed to the NECC as a representative of the Ceylonese community which itself was sort of recognition of the MCC and the community by the Government.
He was also assigned to the Manpower Resource Development Committee in which he played an active role.
Proposals were made to bring about a National Education Policy that would be acceptable to all communities with the hope that a uniform system of education could be made available to all Malaysians at least up to the end of secondary education.
The development of intellect, character and respect for Society were incorporated in the philosophy and aims of the New National Education Policy.
In this direction, a meeting of representatives of the various Ceylonese organisations in the country together with some intellectuals was held on 26th March, 1989 in Kuala Lumpur. The meeting was held to gather views and opinions so as to raise them at the NEEC meetings.
In this respect, a series of meetings were held under the co-ordination of Mr. S. Sivanathan and Mr. A. Yogeswaran and subsequently the “Suggested Guidelines for the Economic Bureau” as detailed below was established:
• To act as a catalyst in encouraging economic activities of the community;
• To plan, co-ordinate, encourage and monitor activities within the community;
• To maintain liaison with the various Government Agencies and private sector bodies such as the Chamber of Commerce etc so as to assist existing enterprises in our community by way of information of opportunities that are being made available from to time;
• To co-ordinate and publish a newsletter exposing the various activities of the community on a regular basis.
In identifying the members for the Economic Bureau, the following criteria to be used -
* Should consist of people who are experts in their respective fields,
* Should have a blend of younger members and older members of the community so that there would be continuity in future years
* Should have representatives from sectors which have growth potential for the community
* Should have a blend of senior civil servants to give access to the Government machinery
3. Immediate Plans:
• Listing out all existing business undertakings owned and managed by the community,however small they are;
• Evaluating all these undertakings for their performances for the last 3 years;
• Identifying the shortcomings and problems faced by them;
• Giving recommendations and suggestions for expansion and improvement;
• To assist the existing undertakings in any other way;
• To analyse the structure of each company and to recommend various options available to them so as to ensure the ownership does not go away from the community.
Medium Term Plan:
Each sector in the Bureau to do a study in their respective sector so that a 3 year master plan could be developed to increase economic activities for the community.
Restriction for the Bureau:
• Should not take economic activities of their own. Instead should encourage existing companies to do it. This is to avoid any competition and any conflict of interest.
• Should not have any ideas of taking over control of any existing ventures belonging to the community;
• Should not use the Bureau to gain Board seats in the various community under takings.
A meeting was held with the then Secretary-General of the Ministry of Trade & Industry Malaysia, (and later the Chief Secretary to the Government) YB Dato’ Ahmad Sarji to discuss the various issues affecting the community and to seek his assistance in obtaining opportunities in the Industrial Sector for the community.
YB Dato’ Ahmad Sarji was very receptive to the meeting and was keen to offer his assistance to the MCC to achieve some success in this field.
MCC National Women’s Council:
A food Fair was held by the MCC National Women’s Council on 10th December, 1989 at Kompleks Sukan Dewan Bandaraya, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur.
The fair was officially opened by the Political Secretary of Deputy Minister Dr. Siti Zahara.
This grandiose festival of palatal delights was organised to promote amongst our multi-faceted community the exquisiteness of Sri Lanka cuisine as well as to allow them the opportunity to experience the traditional food which has been preserved in the Ceylonese household for many generations. The food fair was a success.
PERIOD 1990 I 1992
In order that MCC could play a more effective role in the well being of the community in this country, a formal application was made to the Barisan Nasional for admission as a direct member of the Barisan Nasional.
The MCC Council worked hard to ensure that its voice was heard in the right places. It cannot be denied that the future political and social economic progress of the Malaysian Ceylonese, to a great extent lies with te MCC, working with other races in the multi racial society of our country.
The 7th Biennial Cntral General Assembly
The 7th Bennial Central General Assembly held on Sunday 24th June 1990 at the GrandContinental Hotel, Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur.
Members of the Recepton Committee pinning the ‘corsage
On Dato Seri S.Samy Vel, President of M.I.C (right) and
Dato’ N . Arumugasamy, President of M.C.C (Left)
Opening address by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri S. Samy Vellu.
Dato Seri thanked the President and members of M. C. C. for having invited him to address and declare open the 7th Biennial Central General Assembly of M. C. C. He said, “There was close links between the Indian and Ceylonese and this invitation to-day goes to strengthen these.
There was no reason for both the communities not to work together. The Ceylonese Community has made and was making contributions to the development of this country.
Extracts from the address of the President, Data Dr. N. Arumugasamy
This morning’s official opening ofour 7th Biennial General Meeting was also crowned with the unprecedented glory. It reflects no doubt on all our goodwill and
Suppor that we enjoy from other Malaysian’s.
“On the subject of education, the Scholarship Fund has been admirably managed. Our representatives in the Malaysian Ceylonese Education Foundation must be given credit for the part they played these past two years. So far, no request for scholarships from Branches has been rejected.”
“It is however sufficient for me to say that tertiary education for our children is the only salvation for a small community like ours to survive well in our country. We should be self-supportive and self-sufficient and reliant, and upgrade ourselves in a class of professional executives and business entrepreneurs. We are almost there but we must hold the torch for the growing generation who are being increasingly deprived of tertiary education. It is no use banging our heads against the Government policies on quotas. Let us show that we can look after ourselves.
After all, we are a fairly affluent community and if each and every one of us makes an effort to contribute effectively, we can lick the problem.”
“We made an impact in the political arena at the Ceramah held in Teruntum during the recent by-election there. Both Dr. Reginald Ananda and I addressed the Ceramah on behalf of the Barisan candidate. The Mentri Besar of Pahang, YB Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob and Menteri Buruh Malaysia, YB Dato’ Lim Ah Lek praised us for our role in this by-election and also recounted the contributions by our fore-fathers towards the development of the state of Pahang. Surely this will stand us in good stead as being politically useful.”
“What we must remember is that we may not have the numbers but then, we have the quality and by this, I mean the doctors, lawyers and other professionals in the community who can help in the voting in any election.”
“Politics, as you know, is a numbers game and we do not belong to the same league as the component parties of Barisan Nasional. So our best strategy is to further develop and forge our links with the Malaysian Indian Congress and thus hope to derive further benefits for the community. We have in the past tended to be divisive in our thinking, wishing compartmentalization as Ceylonese or become labeled under ‘Others’. What I am trying to say is to minimize the exclusivity of our own community.”
“Leading members of our communities have always worked closely with the current MIC leadership, and in fact, we should be proud that some of them serve on bodies like the MAIKA. I feel we should extend our assistance to the MIC leadership. We can then achieve higher goals for the community and believe me; we can be assured of just rewards if we did so.”
The Economic Bureau in co-operation with the Jaffnese Cooperative Society (JCS) was to establish a data base of all Malaysians of Jaffnese origin. The purpose of this survey is to develop a demographic profile of the community. The development of this comprehensive database is absolutely vital if we are to plan for the advancement of the Jaffnese Community into the twenty-first century.
M. C. C. NATIONAL WOMENS’ COUNCIL:
Children’s Party cum Mini Sports:
The Women’s committee organised the above event for the children of our members and the children of the orphanage in Petaling Jaya. The party cum Mini Sports was held at the Sithi Vinayagar Temple on 22nd ApriI 1990.
Yg.Bhg Dato (Dr) N. Arumugasamy and Datin Mariayee Arumugasamy graced the occasion with their prescence. Datin Mariayee Arumugasamy was called upon to give away the prizes.
About 140 children attended the function making the event a success Each child was given a gift and all those present were treated to “High Tea”
Visit to the Orphanage:
In conjunction with Deepavali, the Council members organised a Tea Party for the under privileged children of the Ozanam Home in Petaling Jaya on 4th October 1990.
The children participated in games organised by the Council Members and then they were given gifts and sweets. A bicycle was also donated to the boys of the ‘Home’ which thrilled them tremendously.
The Supervisor of the ‘Home’, who turned 75 years old on 4th October, was presented with a BirthdayCake. After the cake cutting ‘ceremony’ the children were treated to the food and drinks donated by the Council members.
THE YEAR 1991
Education & Education Loan Funds:
The Malaysian Ceylonese Education Fund was succeeded on 1st January 1991 by the Malaysian Community Education Fund. Substantial funds were made available by contribution from a prominent Malaysian Ceylonese... The Directors of the Fund had promised to make available RM1 00,000 - a year for awards to Malaysian Ceylonese applicants.
The Malaysian Ceylonese Education Foundation:
(Malaysian Community Education Fund)
The primary objective of MCEF was to provide financial assistance for Malaysians with good academic records to further their education in many fields.
The priorities established in considering applicants for financial aid was as follows:
a) Applications for study in local institutions of higher learning;
b) Applications for study overseas where no place was available in local institutions;
c) Past academic performance of applicants;
d) Financial position of applicant and family
e) Financial position of guarantors.
The general guideline of the Board was to provide assistance ranging from RM2,500- to RM5,000- per annum for each candidate depending on the type of course / duration and applicants financial position.
The financial aid would have to be repaid by the applicants upon being employed in equal monthly installments of not less than RM200/- or 10% of the income whichever was the greater. Late payment charges were imposed on delinquent repayments.
Applicants were also requested to contribute to the foundation upon being gainfully employed so as to n to expand its resources.
The MCEFis a separate legal entity. It is limited by guarantee, without a paid up share capital and incorporated under the Companies Act 1965. Donations were exempted from tax on 17th March, 1979 vie Government Gazette No 3832 dated 3rd July, 1980. The MCEF was also granted tax exemption from income on 12th November 1985. The MCEF has its own members and directors and the management and administration of the MCEF is as embroiled in the Companies Act , 1965.
The funding of the MCEF has primarily been from member’s contributions, public donations and other fund raising events.
Streamlining of Organisation & Pooling Resources:
The President of MCEF mooted the idea that the organisation of MCEF should be streamlined and pooled with other resources. Arising from this and with effect from 1st January, 1991 certain new directors were appointed. The new directors undertook to make available at least RMIOO,000/- per year for Ceylonese students.
The Secretariat was at:
Messrs Singam & Yong,
16th Floor, Plaza Pengkala,
Jalan lpoh, Kuala Lumpur
The M.C.C. National Women’s Council organised a one-day Civic Course on 11th August, 1991 at the National Council of Women’s Organsiation Headquarters.
Extracts of the speech delivered by the President, Dato’ Dr. N. Arumugasamy.
“The role women play in our society has not been sufficiently highlighted until quite recently. The wife of our Hon. Prime Minister, Y.Bhg. Datin Sen Dr. Siti Hasmah has chartered much in this direction. We gratefully acknowledge and support her in this. Her efforts have been further reinforced by other leaders like Y.Bhg. Datin Paduka Zaleha the President of the N.C.W.O. who to the present time, continues to be quite active in preaching women’s needs, problems and bringing their achievements to the forefront.”
“Unless our National Policy included Women and Youth, a healthy development of bodies and minds in respect of the Rule of Law for the development of a concerned, caring and cohesive society will not be possible. I notice that part of your paper is to be on Wawasan 2020.
For this I would like to congratulate the UMNO leadership and our Hon. Prime Minister, YAB Datuk Sen Dr. Mahathir Mohamed for the proposed Perspective Plan that brings with it much mature understanding and vision. I am certain it is providing the current acceleration in our cruise towards a newly industrialized economy.”
“I call on you and all women and all Malaysians to forget the Subsistence Dependence Syndrome and to work instead towards a Subsistence Generating nation.”
“Women’s role is not only at home but also at work. This has assumed new proportions with our women contributing to our Manpower Resource. The increased work force of women in Government and in industry, needless to say, bring on a nation-building role for them. I must urge you to continue this dual role. We hope you can underscore racial differences at work and attribute time to bring about a cohesive society with good work culture. You should join hands with everyone to take the road towards a Malaysia for all Malaysians.”
“The Eradication of Poverty and Restructuring of Society by increasing your output and meeting your targets can be achieved. What we now have should not give rise to complacency. It is to increase your productivity that your role in our Perspective Plan has not been underscored.”
Malaysia under the leadership of our Hon. Prime Minister has provided ample infrastructure, e.g. in the obstruction of dams, in our electrification and telecommunication programmes and the like.”
“In declaring open your one-day Civic Course, I hope you will keep in mind the need for a cooperative effort and I urge you to think, Malaysian. Introduce Malaysianism in a big way in our children, in your schools, parent-teachers associations and at your place of work. It is only by these means that you can eventually incorporate true Malaysianism in our daily living styles.”
THE YEAR 1992
Being the sole political party representing the Ceylonese in this country and in keeping with the aspirations of our community, we have continued with our formal application to join the Bansan Nasional. Our efforts like those of others who have made similar applications have yet to bear fruit.
The number of members and lack of branches in all the States of the country make a Pan-Malaysian concept for our Congress difficult. We must quickly add that it is imperative to remember that to a large extent, our success depends on good co-operation, togetherness and in being self-reliant. Government recognition or Barisan Nasional’s recognition may be important but that should not deter us from looking after our own interest in all areas that are important to us. We have to apply ourselves to problems pertaining to the community.
Pan Malaysian Ceylonese Games:
The Pan Malaysian Ceylonese Games was held on 16th April and 17th April 1992 in Klang with the MCC Klang Branch organizing the meet. More than 500 members from the various states participated in the meet.
VISION 2020 AND THE COMMUNITY:
The M.C.C. jointly with JCS organized a symposium on “Vision 2020 and the Community” on 13th September, 1992 at the Cooperative College, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Mr. K. Thillainathan, President of JCS was the Chairman, Symposium Organising Committee. In his message in the Souvenir Programme he had said, “Achievements are governed by the limits man imposes on himself. A nation’s and a community’s achievements too face the same fate. We need to ponder deeply and address the issues and challenges of Vision 2020, the role and the future course of the community within the nation.”
To address the issues and challenges of Vision 2020 in order to prepare the Community to play a meaningful role in achieving the target through:
• Creating an awareness about Vision 2020 and the development needs of the Country
• Formulating plans,strategies and mechaniss for the advancement of the community
The symposium was a success and well attended by the cross section of the community including students from colleges and universities.
NINE STRATEGIG CHALLENGES IN ACHIEVING THE OBJECTIVES OF VISION 2020
Extract from the speech delivered by YAB Dato Sen Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamed:
“The first of these is the challenge of establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny. This must be a nation at peace with itself, territorially and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ with political loyalty and dedication to the nation.”
“The second is the challenge of creating a psychologically liberated, secure and developed Malaysian Society with faith and confidence in itself, justifiably proud of what it is, of what it has accomplished, robust enough to face all manner of adversity. This Malaysian Society must be distinguished by the pursuit of excellence, fully aware of all its potentials, psychologically subservient to none, and respected by the peoples of other nations.”
“The third is the challenge we have always faced is that of fostering and developing a mature democratic society, practicing a form of mature consensual, community oriented Malaysian democracy that can be a model for many developing countries.”
“The fourth is the challenge of establishing a fully moral and ethical society, whose citizens are strong in religious and spiritual values and imbued with the highest of ethical standards.”
“The fifth is the challenge that we have always faced is the challenge of establishing a matured liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and creeds are free to practice and profess their customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation.”
“The sixth is the challenge of establishing a scientific and progressive society, a society that is innovative and forward-looking, and one that is not only a consumer of technology but also a contributor to the scientific and technological civilization of the future.”
“The seventh is the challenge of establishing a fully caring society and a caring culture, a social system in which society will come before self, in which the welfare of the people will revolve not around the state or the individual but around a strong and resilient family system.”
“The eighth is the challenge of ensuring an economically just society. This is a society in which there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation, in which there is full partnership in economic progress. Such a society cannot be in place so long as there is the identification of race with economic function, and the identification of economic backwardness with race.”
“The ninth challenge is the challenge of establishing a prosperous society, with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.”
Extracts from Keynote Address by the President MCC Dato’ Dr. N. Arumugasamy,
We in Malaysia are most fortunate in having a visionary as Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sen Dr Mahathir M has succinctly articulated the hopes and aspirations of all fvtalaysians in a speech that must Surely rank as one of the most important ones in the history of our nation”
“in that historic speech the Honorable Prime Minister enunciated the national agenda for transforming this a from its present state to that of a fully developed one, in the proposed time of 30 years The ultimate objective is the establishment of a nation that is fully developed in the ecoomcal,political,social,spiritual,psychological and cultural dimensions- in short the development of a progressive,prosperous,just and united nation.
“From the outset, it is important that we fully appreciate the spirit and underlying philosophy of Vision 2020, in order to be intimately involved in this challenging and exciting mission. This would enable us to make a meaningful contribution towards making Malaysia occupy her rightful place in the community of nations.”
“Vision 2020 is a balanced developmental model that is anchored on the pursuit of excellence in the spiritual, material and intellectual domains. Whilst the vision of necessity is long term, we can ill-afford to be myopic in conceptualizing, strategizing and preparing for the future. All groups however small must give their best and be prepared to give their best to make Vision 2020 a reality.”
“We must at all times be disciplined. We are fortunate in that the values of discipline, integrity and diligence have served the community well in the past, and to the present day. We can be justifiable be proud that the Ceylonese community based on these values continues to serve the nation well, be it in the Civil service, the Professions or in the Security forces. Be that as it may, we cannot take it for granted that these values would continue to be part and parcel of the value system of our future generations. Positive values have therefore to be constantly nurtured. Here the role of parents, elders and leaders as teachers and exemplars cannot be overstated. The onus is on every one of us to build and nurture these core values, without taking anything for granted.”
“I hope in your discourse today you would focus your minds on the issues and challenges related to building this culture of excellence.”
“Finally, I hope that cognizant with the aspirations of all other Malaysian communities, you would conduct your deliberations in a constructive and objective manner to arrive at a spirit of consensus for future collaboration. In this regard, I would like to share with you what that late Indian philosopher, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan is quoted to have said,”
“We may become learned and skilled, but if we do not have
some kind of purpose in our life, our lives themselves become blind, blundering and bitter. For a truly cultured mind, there is a single-mindedness, a dedication to a single purpose.
“For the uncultured mind, the whole life is scattered in many
directions. Therefore it is essential that the education which you acquire should give you not merely learning and skill but endow
you with a definite purpose in life. What that purpose is, you have to define for yourself.”
“As for today, it is my fervent hope that all of you would single-mindedly focus on the purpose of this symposium — that is, to charter the course for the advancement of the Ceylonese community into the twenty-first century. Let not our future generation hold us for inaction or our failure to do so.”
MAJLIS MAKAN MALAM
The 34th Anniversary Dinner was held on Saturday 17th October, 1992 at the Ramaisari Ballroom, Subang Merlin It was officiated by none other than Yang Amat Berhormat Encik Abdul Ghafar Baba, Deputy Prime Minister
N.B. It was held on the eve of the 8th Biennial Central General Assembly
Datin Mariayel Arumugasamy drawing the lucky numbers at the Anniversary Dinner
Extract from the President’s Message
“We are especially grateful to Yang Amat Berhormat Encik Abdul Ghafar Baba, our much loved and admired Deputy Prime Minister for gracing this occasion. In his sacrifice and service to the nation, he has consolidated Malay support for the Barisan National and thus for all Malaysians. Aware of his very busy schedule, we are appreciative of his gracious presence amongst us today.”
“The MCC will continue to play its political role within the framework of our multinational Malaysia. In the professional manpower resources, our present strength shows that we are well poised to contribute to the Nation’s economic thrust into the year 2020.”
THE 8TH BIENNIAL CENTRAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The 8th Biennial Central General Assembly was held on Sunday 18th October, 1992 at 9.00 a.m. at the Merlin Subang, Rampaisari Ballroom, Petaling Jaya.
In his address the President called upon the Government to address the issue of equitable distribution of benefits based on the criteria of need and merit.
He said, “The world as we know it in 1990 is no more. The complexity of changes the world has undergone two years since our last Biennial Meeting, is to say the least, mind-boggling. The once impregnable Berlin Wall has crumbled, the entity called U. S. S. R. has vanished, and the political ideology of Communism is in its death throes. A New World Order is emerging, the implications of which, is perhaps not ours to begin to comprehend.”
“If we are to derive any benefits from economic growth we must most certainly concentrate on building a proportionately substantial share of corporate equity Resource mobilization must become a primary objective to ensure meaningful participation in a growing industrialized economy.”
Towards this end, the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress calls upon the Government to address the issue of equitable distribution of benefits on the criteria of need and merit.”
“There is a group amongst our community that needs assistance to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty, albeit in a relative sense. Opportunties in terms of educaton,employment and financial assistance would go a long way in addressing us to
this problem. This would certainly be consistent with the avowed philosophy of a Caring Society, where sll disadvantaged groups whatever thei origin, are given the equisite opportunity to develop and progress” he said.
The President also spoke on the National Development Policy (NDP)
The primary objective of the National Development Policy (NDP) is to establish a balanced development, in order to establish a more unite and just society. Growth with equity that is the underlying philosophy of NOP. We the Malaysian Ceylonese support the NDP and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve the stated objectives. In this regard, three critical aspects of the NDP are:
1) “Reducing and ultimately eliminating the social and economic inequalities and imbalances”.
2) “Developing a progressive society in which all citizens enjoy greater material welfare, with positive social and spiritual values”,
3) “Promoting human resource development including creating a productive and disciplined labour force, and fostering a culture of merit and excellence”.
“We need to build a culture of excellence. Excellence in everything and anything we do must become our hallmark. This would ensure our survival as a minority and most certainly make us a cut above the rest.”
“One of the major problems faced by the community pertains to leadership. As mortal beings, leaders come and go. Some leave their mark, whilst others are remembered for their occupation or a particular office. We vie for positions or leadership and sometimes throw caution to the winds because the end always is rationalised to justify the means. Very rarely do we ponder to think that as leaders we owe certain obligations to the institutions we head, and our followers.”
“We must be responsible for identifying developing and nurturing future leaders. We must create a sense of worth, a sense of belonging, a sense of accountability and a sense of ownership. Leaders must also have the capacity and energy to provide momentum besides sincerity and honesty.”
“The mission of the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress is to shape a prosperous and progressive future for the Ceylonese community on this bountiful Malaysian soil.”
The Malaysian Community Education Foundation (MCEF)
The MCC representative to the Foundation attended the meetings of the MCEF Awards Committee to consider awards to applicants. A total of 69 scholarships and loans were approved during this period.
All applicants from our community were given the necessary support whenever their cost and financial requirements deemed it necessary.
Two of the applicants, one from Pudu and another from Seremban were turned down but on appeal had their awards approved.
National Women’s Council:
Breast Cancer: Due to the increase number of deaths among the women with breast cancer the NWC l a session on educating the women about breast cancer Dato Dr Susheela Nair, specialist in the field from the General Hospital, Kuala Lumpur gave a very interesting talk supported with statistics and a practical demonstration.
About 60 people attended this session and were allowed to practice early self diagnosis.
Seminar in Japan
It is noted with appreciation that twelve (12) ladies from branches all over Malaysia attended a Seminar on ‘Aids and Drug Abuse’ held in Japan in October, 1993.
The participants shold all be congrajulated as they all paid their own expenses to attend the seminar conducted by UNESCO under the MCC banner.
PERIOD 1995 TO 1997
The Congress should be acting as the vehicle for achieving the political, economic and social advancement of the community and also to ensure its general well-being.
Some success has been achieved in certain areas but much more could be done with greater participation of community members, particularly the professionals, business leaders and our youth. Our agenda of joining the Barisan Nasional has not been realised though one of our Past Presidents Tan Sri Dato C. Sinnadurai served as Senator representing the Congress from January 1975 till he retired from the Senate.
PROTEST AGAINST FRENCH NUCLEAR TESTS:
The M.C.C. was invited by UMNO to participate in an all-party gathering to protest against the French nuclear tests in the Pacific. In the gathering held on 26th October 1995 at Menara Dato Onn in the Putra World Trade Centre, the MCC was represented by Mr. S. Sivanathan (Vice-President) and Mr. R. Visvanathan (Secretary General). Five resolutions were passed condemning the resumption of nuclear tests by the French and demanding that such tests be stopped and the affected people compensated.
Mr. S. Sivanathan attested his signature on the “Protest Note” on behalf of the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress.
“CENTRE FOR PEACE INITIATIVE”
On 10th November 1995, MCC members gathered in front of the Sri Lankan High Commission in response to a call by the Centre for Peace Initiatives. A memorandum on behalf of the 39 organisations represented was handed to the First Secretary of the High Commission.
The Sri Lankan Government was urged to accept United Nations or Third Party mediation and further urged that the Sri Lankan Government:
i) Lift the economic blockade imposed on the Tamil areas;
ii) Lift Press censorship;
iii) Provide sufficient food and medical supplies to the Tamil war victims.
APPEAL BY THE CEYLON TAMIL COMMUNITY:
On 15th November 1995, a Joint MCC— Tamil Relief Fund Memorandum signed by over 200 people was handed over to the First Secretary of the British High Commission by MCC President Dato Dr. N.Arumugasamy at 3.OOp.m. at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur in the presence of the Secretary General, Mr. R. Visvanathan, other MCC members and the Trustees of the Tamil Relief Fund.
The memorandum urged the British as the former colonial power that ruled Sri Lanka to try to mediate and stop the ethnic conflict and bring about a settlement that would be fair to the Sri Lankan Tamils.
The heading of the memorandum read,
“Displacement of 500,000 people in the Jaffna Peninsula”.
The main points of the letter read as follows:-
“We the undersigned loyal citizens of Malaysia of Ceylon Tamil descent are horrified at the human tragedy now unfolding on the civilian population of Jaffna, who are our kith and kin, as a result of the on going Sri Lankan ‘operation sunshine and seek your good offices in conveying to the British Government our earnest plea that Her Majesty’s Government should intercede without a moment’s delay with the Government of Sri Lanka to:-
•(1) declare the e Thénmaratchi assistant government agencv district as a ‘no-fire zone’ as the bulk of the civilian population has flocked to this area.
(2) call upon the Sri Lankan government to invite the United Nations relief agencies to provide humanitarian help to these civilian refugees for which the U. N. Secretary — General Mr. Boutros Gali has already declared he is holding himself in readiness.
The first Secretary Mr. John Dennis, assured that the Memorandum would be sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth office in London for the attention of those concerned.
A reply was sent to: “Dr. Dato N. Arumugasamy, The Malaysian Ceylonese Association, Kuala Lumpur” on 7th December 1995 by Mr. M. K. Haddock, Desk Officer responsible for Sri Lanka at the Foreign and Commonwealth office putting forth the position of the Government.
The last two paragraphs of his letter reads:-
“We have taken early humanitarian action. We provided a grant of GBP25O,000 on 3 November to the ICRC, to help those most in need, and we have approved a grant to CARE of GBP100,000 for emergency supplies. We are also financing programmes to provide relief and rehabilitation for displaced families, managed by Save the Children Fund and Oxfa. We will consider additional support to both these agencies, to enable them to respond to the present emergency. In addition, the UK share of recent European Community emergency aid announced on 17 November is some GBP1 38,000 This aid will be used to provide blankets, plastic sheeting, medicine and other medical supplies to affected people in the Jaffna and Chavakachcheri areas.”
“We believe that the tragic conflict in Sri Lanka can only be resolved through peaceful negotiation. We very much welcomed the peace initiative begun by President Kumaratunga’s Government last year and have condemned the LTTE’s decision to resume hostilities in April. We continue to support the Sri Lankan Government’s efforts to secure a sustainable settlement . Their recently issued proposals for devolution seem a genuine attempt to meet the legitimate demands of the Tamil people. We hope that the LTTE will end the fighting and respond politically to the constitutional opportunities on offer.”
Sd M. K. Haddock
South Asian Department
A fund raising dinner was held in the Hokkien Association Hall in Klang on 7th January 1996 under the Chairmanship of Mr. T. P. Nathan. A sum of RM48,000.00 was realised from this project.
RM38,000.00 was added to the Bulding Fund.
INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS:
A sum of RM1O,000/- was sent to the International Red Cross in London for relief work among war refugees in Sri Lanka.
EDUCATION & EDUCATION LOAN FUNDS:
In 1995, loans totaling RM599,967.50 was made to 91 students (70 local and 21 overseas). From 1stJanuary 1996 to 30th June 1996, RM4I 3,336.00 was awarded to 53 students (40 local and 13 overseas).
From our study, it appears that the undertaking to provide RM100,000/- a year for Malaysian Ceylonese is being met.
The MCC was represented on the MCEF by Dato’ Dr. N. Arumugasamy, Mr. S. Sivanathan, Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah and Mr. R. Visvanathan.
The had published for members and Ceylonese in general an Education Guide which contained information on:
1) Malaysian Universities Degree Courses
2) Malaysian Universities Diploma Courses
3) Malaysian Polytechnic Courses
4) Malaysian Private Educational Institutions Courses
5) National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University Courses
6) Recognised Medical, Dental, Pharmacy and Engineering qualifications from India
7) Post-Graduate Degree & Diploma Courses in Malaysia and Singapore The copies were sold at RM1O.00 (cost price).
At the Biennial Central General Assembly held on 10th October 1976, the following Resolution was proposed by South Johore Branch and unanimously passed, “That the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress set up a Building Fund with the view to erecting a Building in Kuala Lumpur for the Congress.”
The Congress then set about raising funds for the Building Project. At the time the Project was mooted in 1976, the available funds amounted to RM3,000.00. With various fund raising projects, the amount rose to RM14,000.00 in 1984. The Fund received big boosts from 1990. In that year the amount was RM25,000.00 and rose to RM36,000.00 in 1992 and RM65,000.00 in early 1995. RM38,000.00 was added to the Fund in 1996 and the Building Fund had a little above RM100,000.00
The Central Executive Committee (CEC) at its meeting on 31st March 1996 appointed a Building Sub Committee chaired by the President (Dato’ Dr. N. Arumugasamy) with Mr. T. P. Nathan, Mr. S. Sivanathan, Mr. R. Visvanathan and Mr. A. Sabaratnam as members. The Committee was given the authority to make the final decision on the purchase of the property. It was decided to purchase an office suite covering 832 square feet of floor space at the North Point Project in Ipoh Road at RM241 ,1 16.00. A ten percent deposit was paid and the Trustees executed the Sale and Purchase Agreement with the developer. We were set to raise an amount of RM14O,000.00 to make full settlement by the time the project is completed.
N.B. The 3 members of the Board of Trustees of the Congress were:
1. Dato Dr. N. Arumugasamy
2. Mr. T. P. Nathan
3. Mr. P. K. Moorthy
On 22nd August 1996, the MCC joined the Centre for Peace Initiatives and the Tamil Support Group for Human Rights in handing a Protest Note to the Sri Lankan High Commission expressing our concern at the heavy civilian casualties resulting from the military operations in the Tamil areas. This was subsequent to the bombing of the Catholic Church at Navali in Jaffna.
Technical Committee Meeting:
A Technical (Committee) meeting was held on 6th July 1997 at the Shangrila Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The meeting discussed many issues affecting the community, the main issue being the lack of strength of the membership of the MCC.
In order to support this critical issue, several decisions were taken, namely:
I) To strengthen and streamline our Constitution by reviewing and making amendments;
iii) To revive failing’ and ‘failed’ Branches;
iv) To establish new Branches;
v) To organise a dialogue session to look into the future directions of the Congress and the community.
Council members were invited by the protocol division of the Prime Minister’s department to attend a public talk given by Her Excellency the President of Sri Lanka Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga on 16th September, 1997 during her official visit to Malaysia.
The President took this opportunity to raise the issue of Tamil Eelam with the President. He also raised the question on the steps that were pursued by her Government to solve the problem in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka and steps, if any, that are being taken to curtail the “brain-drain” from the country that is caused by fleeing Tamil youths from these areas.
Meeting with Secretary General of Barisan Nasional:
Some Council members had the opportunity to meet with the Secretary General of the Barisan Nasional Dato’ Mohamad Rahmat at his office on November 17, 1997. Matters related to our community (as a minority group) were raised. The question of the Senate seat was one issue raised.
Outcome: The Council decided to conduct a survey of our community in the country in order to asses the actual number. After rejecting a proposal by a consultant, the Council decided to carry out a pilot survey on its own in three areas in Petaling Jaya.
A seminar entitled, “Strategies for the Development of the Ceylonese Community in Malaysia” was organized for members at the Shah Village Hotel in Petaling Jaya on November 23, 1997.
Extracts - President’s Message in the Souvenir Programme:
“When the seminar was first mooted, it was with the aim of trying to gather a consensus from amongst the Ceylonese community of what direction the community as a whole should strive in order to leave a legacy of all our expertise for our children. If we do not do it for our children, then who else will?”
“It was soon apparent that the community had been largely progressing with independent ideals and each going his separate way, as a result of which the new generation is losing their identity. The society is loosely-knit and many are in the process of changing their identity and losing sight of their origins.”
This is indeed a sad state of affairs. The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress has seen fit to address this trend, by organising this seminar for the members of the Ceylonese community to address the many challenges that lie ahead and try to forge a concerned front.”
Speakers were Datuk Prof. Khoo Kay Kim and Datuk Prof. Sothi Rachagan
Outcome: Decision to do a survey of our community in the country in order to determine the actual number of residents in Malaysia.
Active Branches of the Congress as at 1st January 1997 were as follows:
ii) Batu Caves
v) Petaling Jaya
vi) Sungei Way Subang
x) South Johor
NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL:
(Period 10th August 1996 tol2th January 1997)
A pro-tern committee was appointed consisting the following
Mr V. Vishnu Kumar - Chairman
ti1r I Thanarajah - Deputy Chairman
‘ Mr. N. Loganathan - Vice Chairman
Ms. Presena Easwara - Hon. Secretary
Mr. Dev Easwaran Ram - Asst. Hon. Secretary
Mrs. Shakila Devi Loganayagam - Committee Member
Ms. Kalah Kulasingam - Committee Member
N.B. The pro-tern committee would continue to function until such time as conditions permit for a Youth Assembly to be held.
Seminar on Education and Career Planning Leading to 2020:
The above seminar was held at the Auditorium Maktab Korperasi, Petaling Jaya on 12th January 1997
The Chairman made an important point at his welcome address by saying, “That the Ceylonese may be losing the competition edge in the job market, and that this Seminar may be a start in addressing them.”
Extracts on the Seminar:
i) Speaker: Dr. Mrs. Vasanthamair Sahadevalingam — Head, Nutrition Unit, Institute of Health, Ministry of Health.
She spoke on medicine. She gave a detailed account of the qualification necessary for entering medical school. She cautioned against entering schools that are not recognised. She said that anyone with the will and capacity for hard work would succeed in medicine. She also detailed specialties that were available
ii) Speaker: Ms. Rasamany Kandiah an Advocate and Solicitor.
She spoke on Law. She gave a comprehensive account of the entry requirements for Law course and the various spheres lawyers and law graduates could be involved in.
iii) Speaker: Mr. S. Kandiah PIS. — Retired Asst. Director General of the Drainage & lmgation Department. He spoke on the subject of Engineering, and the various paths available for becoming engineers and stated that all graduate engineers should aim to become Professional Engineers which could give them the right to be consultants and sign plans.
Mr. R.Visvanathan, Secretary General M.C.C deliveing his speech
iv) Speaker: Mr. R. Visvanathan PJK, retired Headmaster.
He spoke-on Education — school education, tertiary education, and Research & Development R&D). He explained the government policy of strengthening the science and technology base. As one measure, college level training has been raised to diploma level to produce better quality teachers.
He appealed for the Ceylonese presence in the teaching profession to continue at its present level or even greater. He pointed out that the country is set to become a centre for higher education and many vacancies for University teachers would occur.
v) Speaker: Mrs. Anusha Pancalingam, Managing Director Indus Inova Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. She spoke on the subject of “Service Industry” and “Information Technology”. She went into a discussion of the various services, their entry qualifications and job prospects. She spoke on accounting insurance, hotel and tourism, whole selling and retailing including direct selling, banking and finance, stock-broking and transportation.
She also spoke on Information Technology. She explained the concept and scope of the “Multi-media Super Corridor” and spoke on the training and job prospects of computer personnel.
PERIOD 1998 /1999
Memorandum — American Embassy:
Some Council members together with Mr. A. Kanesalingam (member) met with the political representative at the American Embassy on January 26, 1998. A memorandum was presented to their President expressing our displeasure on the issue of U. S. Congress labeling the LTTE as a terrorist group.
“Concept to Start a New Business”
On February 22, 1998 a seminar on “Concept to Start a New Business” was held at the Shah Village Hotel, Petaling Jaya. Speakers were from a Computer Company dealing with education software.
Seminar in Penang:
A seminar in Penang was organised on the 7th of March, 1998.
The seminar consisted of a talk on:-
Entrepreneurship by Mr. Lionel Chellapah;
Social Ills by Mrs. Gomathy Ramadass and
Communication and Leadership Skills by Mr. S. L. Liew and Ms. Margaret Chan.
Dr. Nyanam Thuraisamy spoke on HIV & Community
About 50 people attended the seminar.
“Jaffna Junction” our Newsletter was officially launched at the fund raising dinner on July 11, 1998. All the Branches were sent sufficient number of copies for distribution among members. It even reached Perth, Australia.
The Editorial Board:
Editor: - M. Siva Subramaniam
Sub-Editor - Ms K Nitiyanaritaselvi
Committee Members Mr R Ravendran
Mr S. Sivalingam
Mr C Nadarajah
Mr V. Vishnu Kumr
Fund Raising Dinner:
A fund raising was organized to collect funds for our Headquarters Suite. It was organised under the Chairmaship of Mr. T.P.Nathan. It was held at the Hokkien Association Hall in Klang on 11th July 1998
Almost a thousand guests were present with the Chief Guest being the Minister of Information Dato Mohamad Rahmat, who was represented by his deputy. A total of RM34,993.OO was collected.
Meeting with the President of Sri Lanka:
Members of the MCC together with some principal office bearers of the Women’s section attended a public talk with the President of Sri Lanka Chandra Kumaratunga. At this talk the National President presented a memorandum to the President of Sri Lanka on the issue of food and medicine to be sent to the Tamils.
Women’s Biennial General Assembly:
The 8th Biennial General Assembly of the Women’s Council held on 21st November, 1998, elected MissTheresa Joseph the incumbent by a large majority as the Chairperson of the National Women’s Council.
Mrs. Kamala Rajasvaran was elected Deputy Chairperson, while Ms. Neela Ambalavanar and Miss Indra Appadurai were elected as Secretary and Deputy Secretary unopposed. The post of Asst. Treasurer went to Ms. Shamini Arunaslam.
Extracts of Speech of the President MCC, Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah.
In any organisation, a delegates conference is an important milestone. According to the Societies Act all are allowed to function must be accountable to itself within its own rules. Also any group of people who ecide to come together to form an organisation must do so with a purpose. So therules spell out the aims and objectives which have to be explained to the Registrar of Societies and what is the exact purpose of the organisation This is a control which the government has on any group of people and as long as they abide by their aims, they are left alone to function.
As such our own organization has very high aims and these aims and these aims are the most important part of the constitution and all our activities must be geared towards those aims”
“It is therefore very important to read out these aims and objectives before each session of a general meeting to see whether we are conforming to what we have set ourselves out to do in the first place.”
“The second part of the constitution and the following rules are written down to assist us as guidelines to achieve those aims. The guidelines are written down to be interpreted in such a way as to keep within the guidelines of the Society’s Act and should not hinder the operations of the society. His interpretation is the understanding of the group of people who have been elected by a majority to serve. To make matters simple to follow, majority decisions have to be agreed to and adhered right or wrong.”
“The CEC would like the Women’s and the Youth Section’s to grow to be a’most on par with the National body and to work in tandem and to complement each other. It must also strive to be self sustaining.”
“I would like to see more work done for the Tamil Relief Fund which is an organisation set up by the MCC. This is a worthwhile cause and should be highlighted every year.”
NATIONAL YOUTH SECTION:
The inaugural meeting of the Youth Section was held at 4.30p.m. on 29th March, 1998 at the P.J. Club, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
The National President, Dr. 0. M. Thuraiappah, in his speech reflected the issues pertaining to the community. Amongst the subject he touched on were the roles the MCC youth could play in increasing membership and adopting a School Project. He also stressed that the community uplifted themselves by promoting a unified front and to go forward as one people rather than being left behind as a fragmented section of the community.
Due to the lack of quorum a Pro-tern National Youth Council was elected.
The results were:
i) National Youth Chairman (Pro-tern) Ravendran Rasalingam
ii) National Youth Deputy Chairman (Pro-tern) Linga Moorthy
iii) National Youth Secretary (Pro-tern) Shanti Dewi
iv) National Youth Deputy Secretary (Pro-tern) 1. L. Yogeswaran
v) National Youth Deputy Treasurer (Pro-tern) Vanitha Mani
vi) Council Members (Co-opted) A. Alagarani, Kirupananthan
This was then followed with talks by:-
1. Mr. George Tan - l.T. in Schools
2. Prof. B. Sinniah - Importance of accurate census of Ceylon Tamils in the country.
3. Mr. K. Karunamoorthy - Going into the Business World.
THE YEAR 1999
A cocktail party was held at the Royal Lake Club, Kuala Lumpur in May, 1999. Its objective was to create awareness of our heritage amongst the members of the community in order to set up a heritage center. As a result of this an amount of RM3,088.OO was raised towards this project.
In order to set up this center, appeals were made to the Government to allocate an old Government Quarters, but regret to state this attempt was unsuccessful.
However, Dr. V. Siva Ananthan, the Maging Director of Nirwana College, had graciously allocated the space in the College premises for the heritage center for free.
Attempts were made to seek items of historical value such as books,periodicals, photographs, newspaper cuttings, cultural arteffects etc to exhibit.
Gala Charity Concert:
A “Gala Charity Concert” was organized in aid of Yayasan Cancerlink, Malaysia on Sunday 6th June, 1999 at the Perdanasiswa Auditorium, Universty Malaya Campus.
Extract of Message of Dato’ S. Subramaniam, the Deputy Minister for Domestic Trade & Consumer Affairs who was the Guest of Honour
“The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress since its inception about four decades ago has played a meaningful role in catering for a variety of interests of the Community.”
“The Congress has never failed to contribute to social needs and activities. I wholeheartedly congratulate its efforts in making a contribution to the Cancer Link Foundation.”
ASNITA TRUST FUND
The National Women’s Council invited all women to invest in the ASNITA program (Amanah Saham Wanita).
The function was officiated by Y.B. Datin Dr. Hajjah Siti Zahara, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department on 28th February 1999. The launch took place at the Maluri Value Inn, Kuala Lumpur.
The function afforded the President an opportunity to raise some of the needs of the Ceylonese Community.
Approximately 150 people attended the function. The Minister voiced her pleasure in the Ceylonese Women whom she likened to “Chilli padi”- a small group she said but very active and dynamic,promised to voice our problems to the Prime Minister.
About 240,000 units of ASNITA trust fund shares valued at about RM11O,000/- was subscribed by Members. Members were able to purchase ASNITA shares through M C C National Women’ s Council.The price was about 0.56 cents.The fund had declared dividends of 8% in the first year and 20% the following year.
FATHERS AND MOTHERs day celebration 1999:
Tribute to Parents of the Ceylonese Community:
It is not often that we get the opportunity to celebrate publicly the private joys of our lives, which are our Treasured Parents. In fact, we as children often take them for granted. Only when we become adults, “ we realize the strength and selflessness of our parents.
Perhaps the greatest social service that is rendered by anybody to the nation in particular and mankind in general is bringing up a family This is because the ultimate economic and spiritual nucleus of any civilization is still the family. But here again, because there’s no commercial value to this service which is known as parenting, there is a very general disposition to regard parenting as a matter of course, which does not need prominence.
To commemorate the valuable contribution of fathers and mothers in nurturing their children to be useful citizens, the MCC National Women’s Section held on a grand scale a function to select both ‘Fathers’ and ‘Mothers’ of the year. It was held at the Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on 11th July, 1999. At the function the children and grand children paid tribute to parents and grand parents.
It was a day chosen not only to honour the parents of the community but to pay tribute to all parents whether biological or otherwise.
This event organised initially at the district level culminated in the choice of Father and Mother of the year among the members of the Ceylonese community at the National level.
The auspicious occasion, organised for the first time by the National Women’s Council of the M.C.C. was graced by the Hon’ble Minister for National Unity and Social Development, Datin Paduka Zaleha lsmail who gave away the awards to the Mother and Father of the year.
The judges in selecting the winners, based their decision on the participants’ contribution to the family,society and nation
Mrs Thangaratnam Rajagopal (Mother) from Sentul and
Mrs S. Sundramoorthy (Father) from Kajang
Extracts from President’s Message
Extracts from Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah’s message in the 2nd issue of “The Jaffna Junction” dated December 1999:
“We move into the count-down for the last year of the 20th Century and into the 21st century. Everyone is viewing this more auspiciously and we do likewise”.
“We urge every member to do his or her part for the community so that we close this century as a caring community. The young who follow in the next generation will be proud to carry on the community spirit”.
“The main task for the Central Executive Committee for this coming session of two years is to carve out what their role in society is to be and their role towards their children. Very soon all of our children will become members and will form the larger part of the membership. I feel that the C. E. C. must decide on our own destiny. We must know where we are going and what our role in society is going to be in the next 20 years. Only then can we work on the activities to lead us to this goal”.
“Expanding the membership is a continuing activity and formation of new branches is a consequential corollary. Our aim is to make every Ceylon Tamil a member of the M. C. C. It is not a formidable task. It must be seen as a natural day to day concern and I hope that we can cultivate such a concern”.
“Our relations with the Barisan Nasional is warm and cordial and moves are being made to work with the M.I.C.”
“As we go on there are a myriad of ways we can come together. Klang Branch came out with ‘Unity is Strength’ which is an age-old adage but how true it is. Confucian said, ‘One stick can be broken easily, but many sticks are difficult to break’ “.
PERIOD 2000 1 2001
The Malaysian Ceylonese Congress stood the test of time and tribulations and remains as a political party to represent the interests of the Malaysian Ceylonese Community. It aspires and endeavours to be the vehicle for achieving the political, economical and social advancement of the community, thus ensuring its general well being.
Success in achieving its objectives is far from becoming a reality. A lot more needs to be done. If we desire to claim any level of success we have to work very hard to make M. C. C. a stronger organisation. As a first step, we must have numbers in terms of membership. More professionals, corporate leaders and leaders in various fields must be encouraged to become members.
We must continue to work towards our objective of being a member of the Barisan Nasional. We believe that only through the Barisan Nasional that we can find solutions to our problems, realising that we are a minority community in Malaysia.
M. C. C. FOOD & FUN FAIR
The food and Fun Fair initiated by the National Women’s Council with the help of the Main Executive Council and the C. E. C. members, was held on the 11th of June 2000 at the premises of the Malaysian Association for the Blind, Complex MAB Kuala Lumpur
It provided a common ground for all Malaysians throughout the country, from the North to the South of the peninsula to meet and mingle with each other.
While taking time off to enjoy the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress never forgets to include.. some charity work wheneverT and provision was made to sponsor 50 members from the Malaysian Association for the at the Fair This project raised about RM27 000
WORKSHOP ON STRATEGIG MANAGEMENT
The workshop was organised by the Women’s Section from 1st to 2nd July 2000. The aim of the : workshop was to brainstorm the main issues of interest for the M. C. C. It was declared open by Dato’ R. Veerasingam, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of National Unity and Social Development.
The workshop revealed that contrary to the popular misdirected belief that there is no future for the Ceylonese; the members felt that the M. C. C. should try to brace itself up and to exhaust every avenue possible, to serve its members in a better way. The members at the workshop were supportive of pressing on ahead to find ways to serve the community and the members more positively.
Y.B. Dato’ S. Veerasingam, Setiausaha Parlimen, Kementerain Perpaduan Negara dan Pembangun Masyarakat Malaysia declaring‘Open’ The seminar “Strategic Management” 1st July, 2000
The workshop took into consideration some major concerns of the Congress, about its members, about the organisation, its role in the community, in the country, and what are the short comings, deficiencies, the strengths, and the problems they are facing.
The workshop was useful to clear up some of the uncertainties in the minds of the members about the role of the M. C. C. in the community. It also examined the limitations and possibilities within the scope Of the organization. It also set out ways of running an efficient organisation by looking into the constitution, into drawing guidelines for working relationships, avoiding disputes and resolving problems. For an effective organisation, there should be smooth operating systems, with rules and guidelines, and above all goodwill and co-operation.
Timely Offer of M.I.C’s Assistance:
We were also extremely fortunate with the speech by the Senior Vice President of the M. I. C. who h to be the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Unity and National Development. It was heartwarmingto hear him say that our students will be assisted by the MIC for scholarships and places in universities.
The MCC has long been unsure of the stand of the MIC on these issues. It was re-assuring that progress ,has been made in a positive manner. It is now necessary to firm up on these matters on a workable solution to benefit our youth and the young It will be necessary to set up an Educ Bureau and a Scholarship Bureau of the MCC.
The question asked was , “Do we have the political will to start these progressive actions?
The Ministry of National Unity & Social Development gave a grant of RM32,400/- for the seminar.
The general impression at the end of the two day workshop was that there was widespread interest; there was intensity of commitment and lively participation at all the sessions.
Three issues have been published, the last being released in August 2000. The “Jaffna Junction” has attracted a good readership among members and their families. The restraining factor in publishing the “Jaffna Junction” is the lack of sponsorship.
The Editorial Board:
December 1999 Issue & August 2000 Issue:
Editor: Prof B Sinniah
Deputy Editor: Mr R Vijesurier
Members:Mr R.Ravendra, Mr S. Sivalingam
Ex-Officio – Dr.D.M Thuraiappah
May 2001 Issue:
Editor: Assoc Prof Loga Baskaran
Members:Prof Datin Dr. G. Thuraiappah
Dr.R.Raveendran, Mr. S. Sivalingam, MrR.Vijesuriar
Ex-Officio Dato Dr. D.M Thuraiappah
The party had sent a memorandum to the British High Commission expressing its concern and requesting for an investigation into the cases of mass grave found in Northern Sri Lanka. The President had also made several press statements on matters related to the plight of Jaffna Tamils.
Since the last B.C.G.A. (22nd November 1998), the following new branches had been inaugurated:
1. South Kedah - Kulim
2. Central Kedah – Sungei Petani
3. Seberang Prai – Bukit Mertajam
4. North Perak - Taiping
5. Lim Garden – Ipoh
7. Taman Yarl
8. Cuepecs – Cheras
With the addition of the above branches, we had a total of 23 branches nation wide.
Pledges & Appeals:
An appeal by the Headquarters to get members to pledge RM1- per day for just one year towards the Building Fund had not met with any success.
Another proposal for each branch to collect RM500- per month over 10 months towards the same fund had not met with any positive respond.
Membership Forms & Database:
A new format of membership application forms had been introduced since 1999. Headquarters purchased anew computer with a software programme that would enable us to set up a database of all members in the country.
As some branches were desirous of acquiring properties and br setting up designated funds, a standard Trust Deed had been approved by the Central Executive Committee (CEC). Any branch wishing to set up any designated fund or acquire property will be required to use the said deed.
National Economic Consultative Council II:
The Central Working Committee (CWC) has made several attempts with the Government to include our representative in the National Economic Consultative Council II (NECC II). A letter was even sent to YAB the Prime Minister for his consideration. It is regretted that no more consideration was given. However, MCC had submitted a memorandum in the rights of the minority in Malaysia to the committee.
THE YEAR 2001
Though our membership has always been small even since its inception, the party had stood the test of time and managed to remain as the only political party to represent the interests of our community. This is no small measure and we have to be thankful to the leaders who had been at the helm of the party to keep it going since its inception.
Perhaps the party has not grown in numbers or status, but it has not steered away from its objectives, which are spelled out in the Constitution. In order to achieve our objectives, we have to strengthen the organization.
i) Endeavour to get every Malaysian of Ceylonese origin in the country to identify himself I herself with MCC;
ii) Attract the youths to be associated with MCC;
iii) Attract the Professionals and corporate leaders to lead the party at both Branch and Headquarters level;
A lot of hard work has to be done to achieve all these. We should not give up the objective of joining Barisan Nasional, even as an Associate member. Perhaps, one day we may be accepted into its fold!Our community, which comes under the “Lain-Lain” category of the populace, is not without problems.We have to admit that it is only through Barisan Nasional that we can find solutions.
The Constitution — Chapter II
AIMS AND OBJECTS
The aims and objects of the MCC shall be:-
(1) To uphold the supremacy of the Constitution of Malaysia and abide by the Rukun Negara.
(2) To promote and maintain inter-racial goodwill and harmony for a united and indivisible Malaysian nation.
(3) To strive for and promote the social and economic advancement and the national solidarity of people of all races in Malaysia.
(4) To safeguard and promote the political, economic, educational social and cultural interest of Malaysian Ceylonese
(5) To seek representation in both House of Parliament, State Legislative Assemblies and other bodies and to represent, express and give effect to the legitimate aspirations of the Malaysian Ceylonese.
(6) To facilitate and promote co-operation with other organisations whose objects and aims are similar to those stipulated in this Article of the Constitution of the MCC.
(7) To encourage, develop co-operative activities and establish an educational foundation for the benefit of its members.
(8) Generally to do all such acts and things as may conduce to the furtherance of all or any of the objects of the MCC as stipulated in this Article of the Constitution.
M. C. C. LOGO:
The new “0” circular logo with blue writings has been registered with the Registrar of Societies and had been approved. This logo replaces the old “MCC” logo. The changes have been incorporated into the updated Constitution of MCC.
The party is registered as “MALAYSIAN CEYLONESE CONGRESS” and nothing else. The Malay versions may be used but have no significance as far as the Registrar of Societies is concerned. Branches are at liberty to use the new logo together with the appropriate caption and address in their letterhead.
WORKSHOP on “Towards Reconciliation and Nation-Building in Sri Lanka:
The National University of Malaya (UKM) and the Malaysian Ceylonese Congress jointly organised this “Peace” workshop. It was held at Hotel Equatorial in Bangi, Selangor from 13th to 15th July, 2001.
About 20 prominent world-renowned speakers were invited to share their views and present papers. Over 60 participants attended and participated in it. The workshop proved to be very successful as papers presented and discourses were of a very high standard and very relevant to the situation in Sri Lanka then. Various members supported the venture by way of donations and participation.
Appeals for funds towards the workshop resulted in a substantial amount being received. A single anonymous donor donated RM2O,000I-. In total about RM6O,000/- was collected which was just sufficient to cover the total cost.
The Foreign Ministry attempted to stop the workshop at the last minute, but thanks to UKM authorities, it was not successful. In spite of all these obstacles the Workshop was a great success.
The proceedings of the Workshop have been published in a book-form for posterity. Copies have been sent to the United Nations, some foreign embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and sold to Universities, corporate bodies, individuals, Branches and members.
MCC National Women’s Council:
I) The National Women’s Council organised a seminar entitled “Towards Greater Awareness and Action for the MCC Women & Youth” on 6th & 7th January 2001 at the Grand Continental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur with the help of the President and Executive members of the Headquarters.
ii) Members of the National Women’s Council assisted with organising the heritage talk at the Untversity of Malaya on 23rd June, 2001 and participated in the workshop on Towards Reconciliation and national building in Sri Lanka in July 2001
“So as not to duplicate activities, the National Women’s Council unanimously agreed not to participate and help with all functions organised by the Headquarters.
PERIOD 2002 TO 2003
The 13th Biennial Central General Assembly was officially opened by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Paduka Abdul Kadir Bin Hj. Sheikh Fadzir, Mentri Kebudayaan, Kesenian & Pelancungan Malaysia on 2.October, 2002 at the Hotel Crown Princess, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
The President Dato’ Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah DPMS, AMN, ASA welcoming the
Hon’ble Minister in the traditional way with a garland.
• “That the 13th BCGA of MCC held on 20th October, 2002 resolve that it strongly supports the government’s move to teach Science and Mathematics in English in schools.”
• “That the 13th BCGA of the MCC held on 20th October ,2002 resolves that it urges the government to categorise the minority groups under the term “Minority”. It also urges the Government to set up a Department of Minority Affairs under the Prime Minister’s Department to look after the interest of the minority groups of the Malaysian Citizens.”
THE M.C.C. FLAG
The new MCC flag was also presented at the assembly. The 14 stripes in blue and red represented the 14 states and th Federal Territory of the Country. The background which was in beige colour was of no significance.
N.B. The MCC Logo and Flag was submitted by the Penang Branch and unanimously accepted.
Mr. S.Karthigesu (Vice - Chairman, MCC Penan Branch) exhibiting the MCC flag to the members of th B.C.G.A.
The Central Working Committee entered into a ‘Sales & Purchase’ Agreement in 1997, with MBf to purchase an office suite for RM241 ,115.00 at the proposed North Point Complex in Selayang, Kuala Lumpur.
The cost price of the Suite was then RM241,115.00. Due to the recession that hit the country during the period, the developer had abandoned the project. However in accordance with the Sales and Purchase Agreement, the M.C.C. had paid on demand, 35% of the progress payment amounting to RM84,392.00.No further payment was made although there was a demand.
The post of Public Officer to be assumed by the Secretary General was approved at the B.C.G.A. on 20th October 2002. The President, Dato’ Dr. D. M. Thuraiappah was authorised by the C. E. C. to act as the Public Officer in the absence of the Secretary General.
The claim to recover, our money is now with the courts.
A total of 29 branches were still registered with the Registrar of Societies. Of this Central Perak was dormant since 1995, Damansara and Kuantan since 2000 and Subang Jaya since 2002.
was launched in August 2002 was held on 17th November, 2002 at the Tasik Permaisuri, CherasKuala Lumpur.
MCC NATIONAL WOMEN’S COUNCIL
Family Day for Sri Lankan Malaysians
A joint effort between MCC and the Sinhalese Association, the event was held on 23rd March 2003 at RRI sports complex, Sungei Buloh. MCC women got its members fro various branches to support this noble effort by MCC Main Council through active participation in both games and also food arrangements.
• Visit to Ministry of International Trade & Industry:
Ten representatives from yarious branches attended the meeting with Dato’ Sen Dr. Rafidah Aziz on 26th April 2003
The Fun Fair was organised by the Women’s Section with the collaboration of the Headquarters. It was held on 12th October, 2003 at the Sekolah Kebangsaan (P) Methodist Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
The branches helped to sell tickets in addition to setting up stalls at the fun fair.
The Taman Yarl Stall
Blood donation campaign by M.C.C for blood bank
• Community-Related efforts:
Inline with the plan to undertake community-related activity, MCC Women through its Food & Fun Fair had successfully arranged the following:-
1. Blood Donation campaign for Blood Bank
2. PEMADAM counter
3. AIDS Advisory counter
4. Breast Cance Advisory counter
PERIOD 2004 TO 2006
DATUK SERI S.SAMY VELLU CALLS FOR MIC - MCC PARTNERSHIP:
At the opening of the Biennial General Assembly on Sunday 5th
December 2004 at the Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, MIC President
Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said that MCC a party of 3,000 members of
Sri Lankan origin, had collaborated with MIC on many issues in the
past and was pleased to have a good working relationship.
He assured the community that he would assist MCC should its leadership make request for help.
At that meeting Dato’ Dr. NKS Tharmaseelan was elected as the new President with a new set of Committee members.
M.C.C. was formed in 1958 but unfortunately has had a nomadic existence. We finally have our own permanent secretariat in Kepong, at an office lot located directly opposite the Jaya Jusco shopping complex. M. C. C.’s nerve centre will soon function from a place owned by M. C. C.
The C. W. C. signed a “Sales and Purchase Agreement” with the owner through our lawyers and paid 10% amounting to RM13,000.0O of the total cost of RM13O,000.O0. The premise is at:
No: 75-3-A-I, Jalan Metro Perdana Barat 1,
Taman Usahawan, Kepong Utara,
MCC YOUTH SECTION:
The MCC Youth Section under the able leadership of Dr. Kantha Rasalingam and Dr. Raj Kumar Maharaj, “have been creating ripples”. The MCC Youth held a well attended economic seminar. This followed with a series of successful sports events. They organised the well publicised and tremendously successful Miss Malaysia — Sri Lanka pageant.
The function was officiated by the Deputy Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Y.B. Datuk Wong Kam Hoong. The Youth have donated the RMIO,000/- to M.C.C. which was donated for the function by the Ministry.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF MINORITY ORGANISATIONS:
Eleven associations representing minorities in Malaysia agreed to form the National Council of Minority Organisation (NCMO) and have chosenhosen Datuk M. Kayveas (President People’s Progressive Party (PPP) as their Presdent. The eleven (11) associations have agreed to form a ‘Mini Barisan Nasional’ under the P.P.P umbrella and pledged the support for Barisan Nasional. A protem committee ad been set up to form a single official association.
The eleven (11) associations are:
Bengali Association of Malaysia
Malaysian Ceylonese Congress
Malaysian Indian MJuslim Congress
Malacca Portuguese Euration Association
Malaysian Sikh Union
Melaka Baba Nyonya Association
Pakistani People’s Association
Punjabi Party of Malaysia
Selangor People’s Education Hall
Siamese Association of Malaysia
Recently four (4) new groups have joined making fifteen (15) associations who have formed NCMO to date. The additional 4 groups are:
Toa Studies Association
Penang Eurasian Association and
Subang Jaya Senior Citizens Club
(Source: Yarl Express)
MCC has been given publicity in all the National dailies including Astro News. The President, Dato’ Dr. NKS Tharmaseelan was interviewed in the Malaysian Nanban and The Star. The M.C.C. Youth’s Miss Malaysia — Sri Lanka pageant was widely reported. The M.C.C. Youth also made a series of statements in the Malay Mail, successfully demanding that Vivekananda Ashrama in Brickfields remain as a Heritage site.
Many MCC branches in the Klang Valley had their activities published in the national dailies with photographs.
EXTRACT FROM “SUNDAY STAR” - 27TH MARCH 2005
Standing up for the Ceylonese
The Ceylonese community in Malaysia feel themselves to be ‘the forgotten race’ and chaff at having lost their political place in the sun. Today, they want to be counted, Writes SUHAINI AZNAM
Small and marginalized but educated and enterprising, Malaysian of Ceylonese Tamil descent do not know their actual numers because they are luped together under the grey label of "others"
Mainly from Jaffna and Trincomalee, they were brought in by the British in the 1920s and 1930s as administrators to Malaya’s rubber estates and railroads. And they worked hard:
Today’s Malaysian Ceylonese is highly literate, have a strong command of English and gravitate easily to the professions. Medicine, law and engineering are favorites.
The luminaries, most prominently Westport executive chairman Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam — another is the reclusive tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan — are ever grateful to their parents for having given them a good education.
But where Ceylonese used to occupy 10% of the seats in university, today they are relegated to only 1% or 2%, said newly elected Congress president Datuk Dr. N.K.S. Tharmaseelan.
“The educational opportunities are there but are not given to us. Instead our students are given ‘junk courses’ in the humanities, or political sciences. When they graduate, they cannot get jobs” he added.
Outside the community, few Malaysians recognise the difference between Indians and Ceylonese. So in the 2000 census, many a time Ceylonese was counted as Indians.
For this very reason, the MIC has invited the Ceylonese to join up, as the problems faced by the two communities are somewhat similar.
The Ceylonese, however, declined, feeling that “every race wanted its own identity to survive”, said Tharmaseelan.
“We are not a superior race. We just don’t want to be the first of the lost races of Malaysia”. “We were born ceylonese, so we want to pass on our culture and language to our children”
Other efforts to pull the community up by its bootstraps include introducing Tamil literacy for adults, while encouraging the youths, who are already fluent in English and Malay, to speak Tamil at home.
And these are crucial times. As all the other community leaders are fighting for allocations under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, “by putting us under others, we will lose out on quotas, business, education, grants, and funds.” said Tharmaseelan.
“We don’t want to be the last of the Mohicans,” he said.
As a minority among minorities, their greatest fear is that they may one day just drift into oblivion.
MCC now has the largest number of branches in its history. MCC formed 11 new branches since December 2004 and more have been submitted for approval to ROS. We should be proud but this is nothing to crow about as most of the political parties have at least 100 branches. Thus MCC should strive to at least meet the 100 mark.
The President and the CWC members have crisscrossed the country and met many potential members. I in the formation of many branches.
We should aim to make every Ceylonese a member of MCC. MCC has now seen an influx of the youth for the future of MCC.
MCC Port Dickson and MCC Melaka have rejoined theMCC fold.
MCC Petaling Jaya Central with Miss Rasamani Kandiah as the Chairperson was the first branch to be officially launched on the 15th May 2005. The membership has crossed the 100 mark.
The MCC Raub branch was launched on the 15th of June 2005 with 40 members most of them youth. The Chairman is Mr. Sivagurunathan.
The MCC Kuantan branch (East Pahang) was also inaugurated on the 15th of June 2005. The branch which has now more than 100 members is led by Dr. Jeyasingam.
The MCC Alor Star branch was officially launched in Alor Star on 2nd July 2005 with Mr. Sivaratnam as Chairman. The branch has about fifty (50) members.
MCC Kajang Utama with Mr. Manogharan and MCC Taman Megah Ceras with Mr. R. S. Nathan as Chairman were inaugurated on the 8th of January 2006.
MCC Sen Gombak with Mr. Thirujanasambanther was inaugurated on 12th February 2006.
The President attended the inauguration of all the new branches and has encouraged them to form more branches and recruit more members.
MCC Brickfields, MCC Old Kiang Road, MCC Ampang, MCC Central Johore have obtained registration from the ROS and are due to be inaugurated soon.
MCC has submitted applications from MCC Titiwangsa, MCC Kinta Valley and MCC Mantin for approval to the ROS.
Many more branches are to be formed in all parts of the country. The President along with the CWC members has tirelessly crisscrossed the country encouraging all Ceylonese to become members.
MCC HEADQUARTERS ACTIVITIES:
* A letter sent to the Prime Minister was promptly replied and the President met with the personal secretary of the Prime Minister at the P.M.’s Putra Jaya Office. The message was crystal clear. “Make the Ceylonese community relevant Increase your membership Increase the number of branches Spread your wings We will come looking for you when you become relevant.”
* The President, the Deputy President Mr. S. Sivakumaran and the Secretary General, Mr. C. Nadarajah paid a courtesy call on Dato’ Sen Samy Vellu at his office on the 24th of March 2005. It was a very cordial meeting and the MIC President has promised to work closely with MCC.
* The above three office-bearers also met up with Dato’ Kayveas, President RP.P., during a meeting to discuss the formation of the National Council of Minority Organisations. (N.C.M.O.) It was held at the PWTC on the 17th of May, 2005. The next meeting is scheduled for in early 2006.
P.P.P. was the brainchild of the Seenivasagam brothers, D.R. and S.P., a well known Ceylonese family from Ipoh. After their demise, the party was also led by another Ceylonese Senator S. Inderajah(S.I Rajah) for a short period.
* The President was invited for a personal meeting with Dato’ G Palanivelu, the Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development on 8th August 2005 at his office at Menara Tun Ismail Mohammad Ali, stuated at Jln Raja Laut Kuala Lumpu.Dato Palanivelu is the rising ‘star’ in MIC politics and is chosen to contest the Deputy MIC President’s post in the next MIC elections to be held in May 2006.
Dato’ Palanivelu has promised to assist and work closely with MCC. The meeing lasted for about 2 hours.
An invitation was extended to MCC for the Deepavali Dinner hosted by Dato’ Palaivelu.
EXTRACT FROM RESIDENT’S BULLETIN NO.3 – NOVEMBER 2006
Message fom the President – Dato’ Dr. NKS Tharmaseelan
“MCC needs to beef up its membership to make the Ceylonese voice heard and thus has embarked on a massive membership drive. Since last December, this new team that took over the leadership mantle has worked tirelessly to increase the membership. MCC has obtained the approval from the Registrar of Societies (ROS) for the formation of eleven (11) branches. Let us all do our bit to keep this momentum of building a strong membership moving. We can triple the membership count by just getting all the family members to join MCC. Getting all your friends to join will increase the membership to unimaginable figures.”
“MCC is a political party. There are several Ceylonese organisations. Everyone has a role. MCC’s role, aims and goals are different — political. We are not competing with our sister organisation. They too have their role to play. We must all work as a team”.
“MCC is addressing several issues. MCC needs to put its infrastructure in order. MCC needs the numbers and branches. We need a permanent secretariat”.
He stressed that one of the problems was finance. To overcome this, MCC is planning activities that will generate regular income for MCC.
He said, “We are looking into several avenues. One possibility of this is obtaining an insurance agency. Everyone takes insurance notably motor insurance. The commission obtained can be shared with the branches. This will solve the perennial problem of finance faced by MCC H.Q. and the branches. There are other prospects too like travel tours etc. Another is holding of an Annual National MCC dinner. Hopefully within the next few months some of these plans will take off. We cannot continuously tax the generosity of our countrymen”.
As no progress was made to assimilate information to members since the last issue of the Jaffna Junction in May 2001, the President came out with the “President’s Bulletin”.
To date 3 issues have been released as under:
Bulletin No: 1 - 5th March, 2005
Bulletin No: 2 - July, 2005
Bulletin No: 3 - December 2005
The President said, “The President’s Bulletin will continue to be circulated till such time the Newsletter is published.”
NINTH (9TH) MALAYSIA PLAN:
MCC for the first time prepared proposals and submitted a memorandum to the Government on behalf of the Ceylonese community. The Deputy President Mr. S. Sivakumaran had painstakingly prepared the memorandum. The MCC Youth notably Dr. Raj Kumar Maharajah also made valuable contributions in preparing the memorandum.
Due to unavailability of information and photographs,omission of references to more persons and events of importance was unavoidable and we humbly requestmembers to read it with that understanding.
Our grateful thanks to al who have assisted in providing used materials and photographs in the publication of this magazine.
THE HISTORY OF M.C.C.